Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I attended the Saturday public session. It felt like I'd not been in a long time! I had a nice time, yakking and socializing and, oh yes, doing a little bit of skating. I worked on some 3s, some spins, some crossovers and stroking. Nothing exciting at all, but it was fun. The amazing Jenny was able to actually get us an ice cut around 3 so the last hour was actually worth staying for, instead of leaving in disgust. So, about 2.5 hours of skating all told.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Turns & Fun Stuff

Today's lesson was just great! After 4 (count 'em, 4) lessons in 3 days (!) I'm a bit tired, but today's lesson was awesome:
  • FO3s -- during my warmup I had done some 3s, my first ones in 10 days or so; but I wasn't happy with them. Still, we worked on them and actually they are better (the RFO3 is a bit rough still). I did probably my best LFO3 ever; what was good about it was some actual control on the exit edge. What helped this most was getting a better edge and better flow through the turn, and then remember to bend the knee/settle on the edge after the turn. Another way of thinking about it is to think beyond the turn.
  • FI3s -- these were a little rough to start off with but definitely improved. I had a problem with leaning back/balking into the turn, which was interesting since other than that it was fairly aggressive. I still tend to rush these; Anna called out instructions as I skated to help me time it better: push - set - rotate - set - turn - set. That helped some. I can do pretty decent FI edges so I really just need to relax, take my time and control these.
  • Mohawk/back 2-foot turn -- just a few minutes on these. Anna reminded me to bend my knees a little just before the 2-foot turn; and to keep my feet fairly close together. Anna was pleased with the Mohawks. We mostly did these as intro/prep for:
  • BI3 prep -- we worked on these briefly. Again, not the actual turn, what we really worked on is just having a comfortable, firm BI edge. My LBI is definitely a bit weaker/less confident than the RBI. I need to spend more time on these, of course it will have to be at a FS or adult session.
  • spirals -- after a lot of hard work we went to working on spirals. Anna had seen me stretching before our lesson (I stretch about halfway through my skate, almost always), which reminded her that she wanted to look at these. I think it had been a while. My LF spiral has improved, but I still tend to wander off onto an LFO instead of keeping a nice flat; my control is lacking. I then went off and did the best RF spiral I've ever done! I was so stoked, it just felt amazing. It also fell off onto an RFO, but not as bad as the left foot. I was so stoked! It's my 'bad' side and I had what felt like just great stretch and extension and it felt really great! Anna was pleased. Mind you I still have a long way to go to get my foot up where it needs to be -- I'm nowhere near hip height yet -- but the good thing is, as Anna said, my basic position is quite sound and I'm keeping a nice straight line from the back of my head clean down to my foot. So I need to work really on getting my torso down and my leg should follow along (for the most part). Anna said she wants me to work on these a little every time I skate, which means getting over the feeling that they stink and no one would want to see them. Oh well! I also asked her about whether I need to lock my skating knee or not, since right now it is not locked. She said it wasn't obviously bent at this point and not to worry about it; depending on how your legs are physically bent, locking your knee might mean it's either difficult to do a good spiral or be just what you need. She said she'd let me know if she thought it was an issue. Since I won't actually test spirals for a long time I'm not too worried about it.
  • lunges -- Anna was pleased with these; even the right foot one (which I'd practiced earlier this week) is looking much better. The only correction Anna really had was that I tend to enter them by pushing onto the skating foot, then placing the free foot back and kneeling. She wants me to enter them by just letting the free foot trail behind me 'til it's extended while I kneel. I found this to be harder, but Anna says it will give me more consistency in my placement.
  • perimeter stroking -- just when I thought I was done and could go home, Anna asked for a round of perimeter stroking ("left and right"). As usual, I still have problems convincing myself to properly prep and execute the end crossovers. Anna said she wants me to thinking about beginning the underpush for these as the other foot is crossing. Still, on a positive note the extension is much better than it was, and there's a lot more power than there used to be!
All in all it was a long lesson, about 40 minutes. Anna's Mom was at the rink, visiting from out of state. She's great. I call her my "skater grandma" which is kind of funny, really, since she's not old enough to be my grandmother OR my mother; she's probably not much older than I am, actually. She takes an interest in all of Anna's students (I assume Anna must talk about us!), and knows all of us, which is pretty neat.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Moves & BXRs

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- we started by discussing what I'd worked on with Caryn Kadavy yesterday and how that all went. Then we worked on the 1-foot and backspin. The 1-foot spin I'm still not really consistent on. I'm not sure how much one can expect from a pivot, still, but I still have problems with getting firmly over my skating and lifting. The backspin -- wow. This is actually improving (which surprises me). I got a couple that were really quite good for me, about 2 revs and weight nicely placed. YAY!
  • BO edges -- we worked on eliminating my double-push, with some success. Anna's decided she's not going to worry about me rotating wide on these because it's not having a bad effect, they are relatively decent. She reminded me to extend the free leg coming back to the line (and Point the Toe!), and of course to be looking up the line, not at the ice. I was relatively happy with these.
  • BI edges -- mostly worked on picking the free foot up in front. When I remember to draw the free foot in before picking it up these work so much better! All in all not too bad.
  • BXRs -- back crossrolls. I'd never done these but Anna wanted to introduce me to them. We tried them with her holding my hands (a rarity). It will be a while before I can do these by myself, I think. I need to practice my back slalom more first. Still, it was quite exciting since I've seen so many people practicing/testing these.
Our lesson was slightly abbreviated since Anna had an 8 a.m. exam at school. Since we have another lesson tomorrow (!) it's not a biggie to make it up then.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lesson With Caryn Kadavy

Today Caryn Kadavy, 4-time US medalist and world bronze medalist, was at our rink giving private lessons and making an appearance. I had an opportunity to have a 20-minute lesson with her:
  • spin entrance -- we started with this. I had talked with Anna about what I might want to work on with her and this was first on our minds -- beyond that, Anna suggested "fun stuff". Anyway, we spent probably 10 minutes on getting the entrance from a step forward with some real progress; I managed a couple of wobbly 2-foot spins from this entrance with her help. Very exciting stuff!
  • BXOs -- we cast about for other stuff to work on and we came up on this, interesting since I'd just worked on them with Anna this morning. We worked on getting the front foot to fully cross, while keeping the weight on the back foot. Some progress.
  • FI Mohawks -- while working on the BXOs I had done a couple of Mohawks, and finally she had to say something :-). I've gotten pretty sloppy about these when I do them on the circle (in the 5-step they are actually not too shabby). I'm tending to make it more like a swing Mohawk where you bring your foot forward and then back -- which would be okay if that was what I intended to do! So we spent a couple of minutes on these. Note to 3Turn -- she said at one point "Mohawks are hard!" so there you have it, independent confirmation! :-)
  • Forward T-stop -- or "tango" stop. I wanted something fun and 3Turn had mentioned these, I think. She wasn't familiar with the term "tango stop" but we had some fun working on the forward t-stop. You really have to open your hip! They are really cool looking, I have to admit. I would love to be able to close a program with one of these, I have to think it would leave a good impression (at least, if I did it right! :-))!
And that was all we had time for!

General impressions -- she was very kind and nice. Of course, she's an awesome skater, but she also didn't make me feel at all uncomfortable in spite of the fact I'm such a newbie. It was fun. She emphasized some different things and wanted some positions different than I'm used to, which gives me food for thought. Interestingly enough, it made me appreciate Anna all the more; I'm getting really good coaching. Anyway, it was definitely worthwhile and I highly recommend doing the "celebrity coaching" thing if you have an opportunity!


Moves Woodshedding

Today's lesson was all about the basics:
  • perimeter stroking -- Anna wanted to look at the CW ones, since I often cheat and we just look at CCW. Phew! Extension and power are both looking much better, but those crossovers! Eeep. I am not preparing them well enough; need to really turn into the circle and hold that inside arm/side high. Anna says I'm really dropping the skating side so it's no wonder I have problems. Have to think of that high, floating "L" shape.
  • FXOs -- with that start we went to look at the forward crossovers in the moves pattern. Much the same comments as above, but also the need to take my time. The extension on the stroke between the circles was better, but Anna says what's really lacking at this point is the very first stroke of the new circle; it needs more/better push onto the new skating foot and (again) getting turned into the circle properly.
  • BXOs -- we had not looked at these in a while, and it showed. I was thinking on Monday as I did some that they felt uncomfortable. Anna says it's not so much that my kneebend is bad as that I'm not keeping my back straight, and not keeping turned into the circle and looking over my hand. Hmmph!
  • 5-step Mohawk -- I often feel this is more like the "4-step" since by the time I've done the first 4 steps I'm back at the line! Grr. Anyway, we spent some time on this. First we reviewed the slide chassé a bit. Then we went back and worked on the 5-step. I asked Anna about the rotation on the 3rd step (wasn't sure if I should be rotating skinny or wide) and she side she'd prefer wide. The 3rd step seems to be the real problem for me at this point. As Anna said, "the hurrier you go the behinder you get." That is, I try to hurry the 3rd step and wind up taking too long! She had me try just doing the first 3 steps and holding the BO edge (basically landing position), then continuing once I was comfortable. Part of the issue, too, is that I'm tending to rush so that I don't collect the free foot (i.e. bring it back next to the skating foot) for the step forward. When I did that it felt much more natural and not so rushed. So, some progress.
During the first part of the lesson (working on CW stroking) I had a very alarming head-on near-collision with one of the coaches. She was following one of her students working on a dance, and I of course was going the "wrong" way since I was doing the CW stroking, and while I missed her student (the lovely and talented Lisa M!) with no problem, the coach and I almost bonked each other. Eeep! It scared me for a bit.

It's funny how time can pass, or not pass, during a lesson. I remember looking at the clock as I was working on the 5-step (since I was facing the clock). 7:54 seemed to last about forever! Seriously, I think I had time to do 3 5-steps in that minute.

The best thing about today was that I felt much better about my skating. I don't know if it was because I had a lesson (quite possible), or just feeling more rested, or what, but it was a good lesson and a good skate and I was quite happy with that.

Lastly, a shout out to Jenny! Today is her 15th birthday. Many happy returns J!

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Monday, April 25, 2005


My lesson this morning was cancelled, so I skated at the adult session at lunchtime, probably 70 minutes of skating. I worked crossovers, stroking, the 5-step Mohawk, and some time on lunges and spins. I specifically spent some time on Russian stroking. I was feeling (again/still) kind of sluggish and stiff. I decided to work on my right-side (bad side) lunge since I was kind of wondering if an (easy) fall might be good for me. So I went off and did a nice, deep RF lunge -- probably the best I've ever done. Nice and low, and I stayed with it 'til I fell. Marge, who is a judge (:-)), was watching and said it looked good. I need to work that side more. I'm continuing my 3-turn moratorium for a bit longer.

I've been thinking about this current slump I seem to be experiencing. I don't know if it's just a plateau that I'm on or a bad streak or what. For all I know it's from always being on the dark back ice since that's what we have right now :-). Anyway, I decided I may be being a bit too hard on myself and/or expecting a bit too much. I'm sure I'll be fine. I'll try to remember to talk to Anna about it and see if she has any thoughts.

I talked to Anna about our lesson schedule this week, since we have a lesson from last week to make up; so we decided on Wed. and Thursday at 7:30 a.m. and Friday at adult skate.

Fiesta Skate

I went up to Phoenix (well, Peoria, technically) on Saturday afternoon/evening to watch some skating and of course to cheer on my friends and fellow skaters. I got to watch the inimitable Katlynn McNab in the final round of the Juvenile freeskate. She had one small error, but it was not enough to keep the judges from ranking her 1st across the board. It was a really amazing performance.

Congrats to Dimitri for his 2nd place showing in Juvenile boys freeskate! My buddy Nicole got 4th in the adult bronze freeskate on Sunday (didn't get to see it, unfortunately) but said she was happy with her skate. Unfortunately I didn't get to see too many of the Tucson skaters since they were mostly Saturday morning, or Thursday and Friday (Fiesta Skate is a really huge event!).

Friday, April 22, 2005


I went to the adult skate today, skated for about 75 minutes. For the first 40 minutes or so I still felt pretty off; then it was better. I worked on forward crossovers and stroking, plus some time on the 5-step Mohawk, spins and the spin entrance, and lunges. Nothing exciting, but I was glad to just spend some time on the ice working and feeling okay with things.

Ice Report: I asked about the front ice and was told that they've had to do more with it than they thought. Current estimate is that it will be up 5/1. Yea!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


I went to the adult session today. I was feeling very stiff and slow and unmotivated. I did spend some quality time on my crossovers, and stroking, and a little on spins and the spin entrance. No breakthroughs.

Anna called me this morning to let me know that the freestyle sessions for tomorrow have been cancelled, so, no lesson for me. We'll have to reschedule for next week some time; after the Fiesta Skate competition that's this weekend up in Phoenix.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Laces

I forgot to mention that I put new laces on my boots on Sunday. The old set lasted me about a year or so. While still somewhat serviceable, they were pretty worn and the ends had come off. I don't like having laces without endcaps since sometimes if you aren't careful you can pull them through and out, and then it's hard to get them re-laced.

It's surprising how new laces can make a difference, but they do. I felt like my boots were nice and snug, which is good since that tends to be a problem area for me.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Potential NSAID Problems

This is alarming -- Study Questions Safety of OTC Painkillers. Many skaters use NSAIDs like ibuprofen pretty liberally. If there is a problem with these drugs it would have a profound effect on the skating community.

In N' Out

The title of this post does not refer to my favorite hamburger chain, but rather to Anna's name for what the Moves test calls "perimeter power crossover stroking", also know as "Russian stroking."

Today's lesson:
  • forward Russian stroking -- Anna asked me at the beginning of the lesson what I wanted to work on and I said this ("in and out" in Anna-speak :-)). We had not looked at these in a while. In particular I was confused about the pattern and whether the lobes should change at the "pepperoni dots" or elsewhere; Anna says as I get more power I'll make the lobes bigger but I can't cross the center line of the rink. We worked these for some time, and Anna pointed out I'm tending not to get a good stroke (with extension!) into the crossover which slows me down and throws me off. In general they were better than I expected, though.
  • back Russian stroking -- I asked Anna to show me these since we'd never done them (and I'm on a quest to be introduced to all the AB Moves). As I suspected, they are somewhat similar to the pattern for the 2nd lobe of the power-3s. We spent some time on these as well. Anna says the most common mistake is to not ride the beginning edge but go straight to the crossover. Since we'd not worked on back XOs in a while we took a moment to run them in the Moves pattern, then back to the back Russian stroking. Anna says when I take my time on the BXOs they are not so bad, and she can clearly see each stroke. It's when I rush them that I tend to get sloppy.

That was all we had time for. I'm thinking I want to leave 3-turns alone for a bit (just as I left spins alone for a bit) since I think I've over-worked them. I'm going to try to concentrate more on stroking and crossovers for the next week, with waltz jumps and spins for variety.

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I attended the Saturday public session, but just for last 75 minutes. The ice was dreadful, and only a couple of people I knew were there. I was singularly unmotivated, but did work on crossovers and stroking a bit, and some spins.

Friday, April 15, 2005


I managed to escape to the Friday adult skate session. The ice was okay -- firm, at least, but I'm noticing that right now there are definite "hills" at each end where the ice by the boards is perhaps 2" higher than 3 feet or so out. It's very disturbing. The front ice is now totally down to sand and leftover paint. I don't see any signs of progress on it, which is disturbing.

Anna was present at the session, for Nicole's lesson. She is skating at Fiesta Skate in a week, in Phoenix, so lots of stuff to do on her program. I was in a bit of a funk, though, still sore from yesterday (tailbone, elbow and wrist) and a bit just off. I'm glad I skated today, if only to work through it a bit, but I accomplished very little. Worked crossovers, 3s and spins a bit, without much to show for it. Ah well, some days are like that.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Crossovers & 3s

I should have known when I saw the ice that today's lesson was not going to be a good one... apparently, more compressor problems overnight, so the ice was quite slushy and there were a couple inches of water at one end. Yech! To make matters worse, about 3 minutes before my lesson I was working BI edges and had a backwards fall. I hate backwards falls! This was the first time I'd ever fallen doing back edges, as far as I know. My tailbone was bit sore, and I wacked my left elbow a bit; but the main thing was that of course in falling I flexed my left wrist (the sprained one) rather violently and it was NOT happy. Anna came over and asked if I was okay. I went and got off the ice for a minute to see how it was, then decided it was okay and got back on. Still I was a bit shaken up. Grr!

Today's lesson:
  • perimeter stroking -- Anna was relatively pleased with the crossovers, not with the stroking; need more extension and to really hold the position. I'm pretty convinced this was mostly due to the fall since I was doing MUCH better last night (and, for that matter, in my warmup). Grr.
  • crossovers -- back into these. We did both chassés and crossovers on the hockey circle, both directions. I was still feeling kind of off. Anna is really pushing for leaning "out of the circle", or as I'm thinking of it, more like "keeping upright over the circle." Really, it seems to be enough just to not lean into the circle. This corresponds with keeping the trailing arm what seems like outrageously high, and actually bringing the leading arm down lower. This seemed to be just what Anna was looking for and she was happier.
  • FO3s -- working on getting the step forward. I'm still tending to rush these. Still working on the body position coming out of the turn, keeping the free leg back and bringing the trailing hand forward to facilitate the step forward. The RFO3 tends to be turned on the toe a bit and that's a problem. These still need lots of work.
  • FI3s -- We just got to work the RFI3 as we were short on time. We worked on doing it pre-rotated since when you alternate the FI3s you're going to come off the BO edge with the skating arm/hand already forward. This proved a bit unsettling and I had a hard time doing them at all well. Again, much more work required.
Anna mentioned in passing (with the usual sort of caveat, "don't take this the wrong way") that it's good that I'm falling more. I told her I fall plenty, just not in front of her :-) and that I don't mind falling in general, it's these backwards falls that bug me. Grr! Also while we were working the 3s, Bri was standing next to Anna at the boards and asked, "Is he going to test?" (or maybe it was, "Is he EVER going to test?" :-)) and we both said "May" and followed with, "we'll talk."

As of now (4 hours later, almost) it appears there won't be any lasting problems from my fall this morning, which is good. My tailbone is a little sore, as is my elbow, and my wrist is just a little tweaked, but definitely okay. Thanks be to God.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Wednesday Night Skate

I didn't get to skate at the lunchtime adult skate, due to a prior commitment. However, as it turns out it didn't matter anyway as there was a problem with the ice (again) so the session was cancelled.

I did manage to get to the 7 p.m. session however, and had a pretty good skate. Stayed for about 90 minutes and worked a lot on 3-turns, crossovers, power 3s and the 5-step Mohawk. I am making progress on the power 3s; I am able to chain them together, but the 3 on the second power 3 is early and a bit uncontrolled (it's very straight). Still, it's progress.

While I was putting my skates on I was greeted with a cheery "Hi, G-Man!" (in unison!) from Bri, Jenny and Brandi. It cracked me up!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Signature Move

3Turn asked (and Tiger did, too, I think) about the forward lunge-->3-turn-->back lunge. This is a very fun move I picked up from some of the kids at the rink, and it's the closest thing I have to a signature move. I noticed when watching my video of the 2002 Olympics exhibitions that Timothy Goebel did one in his "American Pie" exhibition.

It's pretty straightforward: Do a forward lunge (in my case the left foot, i.e. dragging the right foot); while in the lunge do an LFO3 so you are going backward; then get up from the backward lunge and continue skating. The two particular things to remember is that 1) you have to have a good, low lunge, otherwise, when you turn backward you will catch your edge and that is NOT good; 2) on the LFO3 all you really need to do is turn your shoulders a bit. When I was first learning this I had a lot of problems because I was trying too hard to do the turn. It really doesn't take much if you have some speed.

It really helps to have good, smooth ice for this. If the ice is rough it will be rather hard to maintain speed and to make the turn. Also, you really have to concentrate after the turn when first learning this move as the sensation of the backward lunge is a bit unsettling at first.

That's it -- give it a try! The nice thing about lunges in general is that if you fall doing them you are unlikely to hurt yourself since you're already practically on the ice.

Back To Jumping

I'm adapting or adjusting to being up so darned early. My warmup was much better and I didn't feel so dorky. Today's lesson:
  • waltz jump -- I had wanted to work on these and Anna did too. The good news (and actually, it IS good news) is that although I had not seriously worked on these since I sprained my wrist (so, almost a month), they were not in bad shape all things considered. We started out by doing a couple of bunnyhops, and I got a correction I've gotten before -- need to stay straight up and down; I'm still leaning back a bit. Then we did a couple of our other preparatory things, then on to the jump. The main feedback was to get more toe in it, and to make the jump more of a continuous motion off the toe. Anna also reminded me to jump up, not out. Finally she also pointed out that I am tending to turn on my skate before the jump. I did get a couple that were not too bad. Anna said she is pleased that we have at least gotten to the point where we can work seriously on them -- generally speaking I pretty much always follow through on my attempts, no balking. That IS good. I do need to start spending more time on these in practice.
  • spins -- I did one two-foot, which was okay. Then a few one-foot spins; Anna reminded me I need to be more "pulled-up" and have more pressure on the ball of the foot. We finished this part by working the backspin a little more; similar feedback to the forward spin on keeping the free hip up and being lifted straight up in a straight line over the skating foot. I did manage one really nice backspin of about 2 revs, which really made my day.
  • BI3 -- we finished off with these, per my request. Anna reminded me the free foot should be in front of the skating foot, not crossed over, but pigeon-toed out across the tracing. I'm getting much closer on this; we ran out of time on it. If I can just get all the pieces together at the same time I'll have it; as it is I almost managed one. The big things to remember seem to be 1) free foot in correct position, 2) weight not too far forward on the blade (needs to be further back than I'm doing it), 3) look over the darn shoulder!, and 4) feeling the timing of when the turn wants to happen. The last is a feeling of allowing the curve to tighten (similar to the spin entrance but not so tight!) and then just letting the turn happen (lifting the toes). Like I said, I almost got one. I need to work these too.

During the spin portion of the lesson I asked Anna about the setup for the test for these. For the two-foot spin she said I can start from a pivot. For the 1-foot, she ran over to check her rulebook but it was somewhat unspecific so she said she'd ask. Generally speaking she said she would want the standard setup (i.e. from crossovers) but she's not clear on the free foot position.

After the lesson I asked Anna about blades vs. boots next year. She said I'd really have to wait and see. She thought Riedells or Harlicks would probably be better for me.

Ice Update: The front ice is still sitting there. I have not seen anyone working on it when I've been there but of course I have not been there much during working hours. I suspect it will be a while before it's fixed and operating again. *sigh* Also, I was told that there is sand under both the front and back ice, so I stand corrected.

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

No Zoo Today

Alas, when I got to the rink today I found they are having compressor problems, so the ice is down. It's unclear at this point whether there will be a session tonight (which I couldn't make anyway), or freestyles tomorrow. I hope so, I was hoping to skate an hour's worth of FS tomorrow.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Perseverance On Sharp Skates

I got my blades sharpened today. When I picked them up, in the usual post-sharpening checkout, the Sharpener mentioned that I have probably a year left on these blades at this rate. Eeep! I'd been thinking about getting new skates at some point, perhaps in a year. Now I'm wondering whether it would be best to plan on getting new skates then, or just to replace these blades. I got these skates in June of '03 and they are in pretty good shape, but I'm not happy with the way they fit. That, combined with the expectation that I will put more wear on them this year than I have in the past (more jumping, hopefully) makes me lean toward new skates. I'm thinking I should alert my family that for Christmas this year they can contribute to Gordon's new skate fund. Hmm.

With my newly-sharpened skates, I attended the adult session. Had a good workout, focusing mostly on crossovers, 3s, power 3s, and the 5-step Mohawk. Wow! Crossovers with these blades felt really nice and secure -- positively yummy! It was fun. I also worked back edges a little, trying to work on the stuff from yesterday. Some progress.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

More 5-Step Mohawk

Today's earrrrrly morning lesson:
  • 5-step Mohawk -- we spent the bulk of the lesson on this. I had asked about the slide chassé, so we looked at it. Some corrections I got: I'm tending to curve the BO edge too much; I'm tending to wide-step the step forward (need to "collect" the free foot first); need to have an actual push onto the BO edge, not just a step; and need to keep the hip up on the BI edge of the Mohawk. It improved quite a bit, really. Just for future reference the slide chassé is done on the soon-to-be-skating foot. So the sequence is, for example, RFI (Mohawk) LBI (step/push) RBO (step forward) LFO (put down R foot) L foot slide, then onwards to LFI etc.
  • BO edges -- a short amount of time on this. Anna will kill me if I don't stop double-pushing on the RBO! :-) Anna noticed I'm doing slightly weird things with my rotation on the RBO, I'm not really rotating "skinny" and my R hand is winding up to far to the right, not straight in front of me, which makes it harder to turn the head and do all the other stuff. Some other smaller fixes too.
Today's lesson was a little short so we'll make it up Monday. I'm going to ask to work on the waltz jump and, I think, the BI3 then.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I attended the Wednesday night session and skated for about 1.5 hours. It was not too crowded, which was nice. I worked some more on power 3s and the 5-step Mohawk. I also worked the bunnyhop some and managed to work up to Anna's requisite 3 in a row. I did some waltz jump walk through and one small waltz jump. It's going to require some time to get it back to where it was, which is bugging me a bit. Ah well.


I attended the lunchtime adult session and had a good skate, about 75 minutes of ice time. I worked on Moves stuff mostly -- no spins at all. I did do a few bunnyhops, singly. I suspect Anna is going to want to go back to the waltz jump tomorrow so I wanted to at least do some bunnyhops. I'll probably skate tonight at the public session so need to do some bunnyhops and waltz jumps then.

I spent some time on the power 3s, 5-step Mohawk, and waltz-8. The power 3s are really fun! I like 'em a lot. They are improving although the timing needs work, and the step forward is still a bit awkward. The 5-step Mohawk is fun too, and it's flowing very nicely. Of course it could be better and lacks power; still, the main problem right now is the slide chassé. When I come out of the step forward, I a) get confused as to what foot I'm supposed to be on, and b) run out of room for the 5th step (the chassé). So that needs work. The waltz-8... very rough. It's not at all a circle at this point, and I'm really bad at finding my way back to the center. Grr.

I also spent a little time on 3s and crossovers and stroking. Nothing exciting there to report. I also spent a few minutes on the footwork that Anna gave me, both the toe-tap one and the one from a while back that's Mohawk-cross step-step forward.

I am feeling, though, like I've made some kind of small breakthrough in the last week; I kind of thought so on Monday but wanted to see how it went today to be sure. The way that I picked these new Moves up and the (relative) ease that they came to me is both encouraging and a bit... disturbing (in a good way). The end result is I'm in a really good mood! :-)

Ice report: Today's session was, of course, on the back ice. It was a little rough. Not chewed-up, but rough, and there were some very significant lutz-gouges that were a bit scary. The front ice is in the process of being melted; I didn't realize it would take so long. There's bare sand showing in a number of places but still ice present as well. My guess is that it's not going to be done in a week; it seems like there's a lot to do (but of course, what do I know about it?).

I was pondering the sand issue driving back to work from the rink. The front ice has sand underneath, the back is concrete. Some people have registered horror at sand being under the ice, but actually it seems pretty smart to me. If there's a problem with the pipes/tubing under the rink, it's relatively easy to fix with a sand base. With concrete you have to jackhammer the whole thing and it would be much more expensive and time consuming. On the other hand I expect that laying down a fresh sheet from scratch on sand is a lot trickier than on concrete.

According to the new schedule I got (it's not posted on the website yet) there will be a Wed. night public session still, from 7-9 p.m. I'm planning on attending.

Monday, April 04, 2005

5-Step Mohawk & Power-3s

I was tempted to title this entry "I Survived" or some such, but went for the more descriptive title. Anyway, this was my first morning lesson. I got to the rink about 10 minutes before 7 and had just enough time to get my skates on etc. and get on the ice promptly at 7. I felt a bit stiff, and it took me a while to warm up. The nice part was the session was not too crowded, and most of the skaters there were my "classmates", i.e. more of Anna's students. Anna was in a disturbingly cheery mood. I hate mornings :-).

Today's lesson was a lot of fun, though:
  • 5-step mohawk -- Anna decided to teach me this Move. It's FI edge, FI Mohawk, step to BO, BO Mohawk (step forward), and slide chassé. As with the Waltz-8 that I learned a week and a half ago, my problem isn't with the turn, it's with the step forward. I guess the good news there is that as that improves I'll fix two different things :-). I'd never done a slide chassé before. They are a bit tricky. As usual for this sort of thing for me the hardest part is just to remember the sequence so that I'm on the correct foot all the time. Anna was pleased (and I was too) with how well I did on this. The first part of it flows pretty nicely. The step forward and slide chassé will take quite a bit more work. And, of course, there's supposed to be some power in this move and that's a long way away at this point.
  • Forward power threes -- As long as we were learning Moves Anna decided to show me these as well. They are actually kind of fun! They are done as two lobes; for the test you would do them down the length of the rink on the "pepperoni dots", first on the right foot then the left coming back the other side. The sequence is FO3 (one lobe); wide step to BI, crossover, BI choctaw (step forward) (second lobe); repeat ad nauseum. The FO3 was not a problem, the BI step was a bit tricky but not bad. The BXO not a problem. The BI step forward is a bit of an issue; of course it's the same step forward (with the same problems) as in the alternating 3s. It's also the same step forward as in the spin entrance, although it's more of an angle since in the spin entrance you're only stepping at 90ish degrees and this is more like 160 or 180. We spent almost 10 minutes on this move and it wasn't too bad for a first try. Again, of course, there is supposed to be power at each step and that will take some work.
  • spin entrance -- we had about 2 minutes on these, just enough to remind me of what I'm supposed to be doing on them. Not a lot of progress.
All in all I was pleased, I picked up these steps a lot more quickly than I thought. Now, of course, I can spend several months refining them!

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I attended the Saturday public session, although I got there rather late so only about 1.5 hours of skating. I spent a chunk of time working out my freestyle session pass with the office -- it's a new system so there's confusion all around. Finally got it figured out and I should be all set for my freestyle session bright and early Monday morning.

I spent some time on 3s and crossovers and a few spins. Nothing horribly exciting, but it was a fun session with many of the "usual suspects" to talk with etc. I did spend a little time working on the new footwork that Anna showed me on Friday, but it's still pretty rough.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Still In The Trenches

Today was my last lesson (for the forseeable future, that is) at coffee club. I'll kind of miss it, but of course I'll still be skating coffee club. I am looking forward to having a lesson time that's relatively bullet-proof, though; it seems like too often I've had to mess with the schedule for one reason or another.

Before the lesson today I asked Anna a quick question about the alternating FI3s. I'm used to leading into the FI3 with my free hand in front, then rotating to have the skating hand leading. The problem is that when I come off the BO edge and step forward my skating hand is already leading. Anna said that I have to learn to do the FI3 without having to do the explicit rotation, which is what I expected. Oh well! Anna asked if I wanted to do waltz jumps today, and I told her next week as my wrist is still a bit sore (it is improving though). Today's lesson:
  • perimeter stroking -- a.k.a. "left and right". Anna says my extension and power are improving, and I agree. I'm pretty much making it down the ice in 4 strokes now and maintaining a good extension most of the time. I still need to be more consistent though; and the end pattern crossovers still leave much to be desired. I need to bend the knees more and get a better stroke into them. I was happy with the stroking but not with the crossovers!
  • forward crossovers -- we worked these in the Moves pattern and on the hockey circle as well. Anna told me not to lean into the circle so much, which was interesting. Janet had posted on RSSIR a similar comment, if I remember, from her dance coach; so I'm assuming it's a dance thing. She also reminded me to push from the heel and to work on getting more of that outside edge pressure we'd talked about yesterday. I wasn't too happy with these.
  • alternating FO3s -- we spent some much needed time on these, especially working the transition. Anna reminded me I need to place the turn better (not rush it) and also bend the knee and get my weight placed forward a bit on the back edge. Some small improvements on this but I'm still a long way away, it seems. Also she reminded me these lobes should be a bit smaller than the regular edge lobes; for some reason I'm tending to make them really large.
  • footwork -- Anna closed out the lesson by teaching me some footwork she's used in some choreography; indeed, I'd seen this in my buddy Nicole's program. It's basically an FO3 followed by a toe-assisted 3 (or sequence of 3s). The sequence is FO3, tap free toepick and swivel on skating foot forward while pushing forward from the toepick. It's really pretty simple. Anna asked me to practice it -- along, of course, with the 12 bazillion other things I have to work on. "Sure!"

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