Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, January 31, 2005

Connecting Moves

At the start of today's lesson, Anna said she wanted to work on connecting moves. ..
  • chassés -- we looked at these down the length of the rink (Russian stroking pattern). A lot of corrections here -- I'm putting the chassé too late in the lobe; it should be just before the bottom/top of the lobe, not after. Anna was especially interested in good extension from the push that's the last step of the chassé. She also reminded me that I need to push from the heel to get power out of the chassé, and also told me that the transitions need to be quicker (which was a little confusing at first). By that I think she means that the edges can be held arbitrarily long but the actual steps should be quick.
  • perimeter stroking -- we reviewed this briefly so Anna could point out that I know how to stroke correctly with the kind of extension she wants :-).
  • slalom -- we had not looked at these in a long time, but I use them in my daily warmup. Anna wanted to work on them and especially on getting better knee-work (rise and fall in the knee). She said, "I want your knees to be like jelly!" Of course after a hard workout they are, but not in the way she means. The slaloms are really tiring!
  • edge work -- after all those slaloms, Anna gave me more exercises. This is skating alternating edges down the length of the rink: RFI, LFI, RFI. LFI, etc. We did all the edges this way, forwards and backwards. Not surprisingly the FI and BI edges were easier. It's like the slalom somewhat in that you need to have good rise and fall in the knee in order to generate power from the edge. Basically they are like 1/2 a power pull; if you can do them and do a change of edge you've got a power pull. So good preparation. Anna suggested I should add them to my warmup right after the slaloms and I think it's a good idea -- it really gets you feeling your edges.
  • FO3/back 2-foot turn pattern -- we finished up with this pattern. I thought Anna was mostly interested in the back 2-foot turn, but actually we spent most of the time on this looking at the FO3 on the circle. They were horrible; I was forcing/rushing them and not just letting them flow. I've worked this pattern and I was doing it better before; I don't know what the problem was. Very frustrating!
It was a tiring lesson!

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sunday Night Skate

I attended the first hour of the Sunday night "family skate" tonight. It was more crowded than last week, but still nowhere near the level of the Saturday "zoo." After warming up I worked a little on spins, a bunch on 3s and a little on the waltz jump.

My discovery for the evening is that when I actually have a nice edge, doing a good 3 is trivial for me. When I just skate a nice edge I can do that 3 no problem; but when I do it in the MITF pattern I am not getting a good enough edge. Something to work on.... I did manage to do one waltz jump, so I guess that is progress of a sort. They tend to be very "sideways", which makes sense since I tend to enter them straight-on. I guess I'll see what Anna thinks. My guess would be that she'll leave them alone tomorrow and come back to them on Friday.

Shout Out To Laura!

I've been checking out Laura's blog, Body By Klingbeil. Check it out, it's a great read!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I attended the Saturday public session as usual. I arrived about 1:15 and stayed 'til 4:30, so with a Z-break, about 3 hours of skating. As usual I wasn't trying to focus on "accomplishing" stuff since it's too crowded for that. Still, I did work on a number of things of course, including the waltz jump. I actually did manage a couple of them! I was pleased with that. I think I tend to go into them without a well-bent skating knee, which (duh!) makes it hard to get a good jump. I also noticed what Anna had mentioned to me at one point, that I'm tending to lean back a little -- a subconscious fear reaction, I'm sure.

I had some fun giving some feedback to Veronica H. on her loop jump, and some ideas for spin variations for her program. As usual the best part of the whole thing is hanging out with my young (and sometimes not so young) friends. I also managed to answer one of the trivia questions the DJ was asking, and so I won a free soda at the restaurant. And, I was lured (by Sarah and Veronica H.) into taking part in the game of "Red Light, Green Light" -- of course, I stink at it. I don't accelerate quickly (thank you, Mr. Newton), and my hockey stop is not reliable enough yet so I tend to default to a snowplow. Still, it was fun.

I noticed while practicing BI edges (a little scary at a public session!) that I am able to get the free foot in front on the push about 30 - 40% of the time (especially on the left foot). Good stuff! And on the BO edges I am staying down in my knee better on the RBO edge so it's not quite so yucky coming back to the line. It's these small things that make me happy...

Friday, January 28, 2005

Waltz Jump Part 2

For today's lesson, we started out by looking at my back crossovers in the Moves pattern. Anna says I need to work on separating my feet more, sitting back more and then getting a better separation between the feet & thighs.

From there we went to working on bunnyhops. Anna was pleased with the height I'm getting. We worked on getting the rhythm right and being able to do two and then three in a row. I'm getting more comfortable with these and they don't feel so dorky or scary anymore.

Next we went to working on the waltz jump. We started by looking at the stepover, and then the step to the toepick. These were looking fairly good so we went to the jump itself. I managed a few, but I'm having serious problems convincing myself to engage the toepick and jump. I got into a kind of a strange place in my head on this; it was very frustrating. We alternated that with doing the stepover (which looks very nice and comfortable) and bunnyhop. I'm not sure what to say about it. In retrospect I should have tried the double bunnyhop since I think that helped when I did the waltz jump in December. Anna concluded this section by asking me to work on this every time I skate, but not to beat it to death. Probably good advice :-).

We finished with Anna asking me if I wanted her to look at anything, so I showed her my backspin. Of course I didn't get any as good as the ones from yesterday :-(. It figures! Still, I got some that were better than what she'd seen before so that was good.

One of the ironies of skating is that I should feel really good about what I accomplished today -- I was more aggressive, and things were flowing much better than when I worked on this in December. Still, I'm feeling very frustrated because I know I can do this, it's just not coming out. Grr.

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Backspin Progress!

I had an unexpected opportunity to skate at adult session today. I got about an hour's worth of skating in. I worked on the waltz jump walkthrough, edges, the spin entrance, and crossovers.

Toward the end of the session I decided to spend some time working on the backspin. To my surprise and amazement, I got about a 1-rev spin! I was flabbergasted. Of course, although Anna was there she was teaching someone else and didn't see (I do have a witness though!). After trying a couple more, I went on to other things for a while. Just before the end of the session I went back to the backspin and managed one that was easily 1.5 revs! It was the most amazing feeling, my weight was exactly in the sweet spot.

I am so psyched, I could just spit!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


I skated the evening public session because... I had time! They actually Zamboni'd after skate school so the ice was not toooo bad, at least not at first. I actually had a pretty nice time, partly because since I felt I'd done all my "homework" at adult skate I didn't feel like I "had" to do anything in particular. So of course I pretty much did all my homework-y things anyway. I worked on crossovers a bit, trying to get that feeling in the ankle that I had in my lesson Monday; but without much success. Worked the waltz jump walkthrough some more, and the spin entrance, and a bit on the Mohawk combo (especially that darn cross step that bothers me so much).

I also spent some time working on the back 2-foot turn. Oddly enough the CW isn't so bad. The CCW is not good, but it did improve a little. I went around the hockey circle just doing 2-foot turns, which must have been amusing to watch. Still, it was a good exercise.


I attended the adult skate today and got some good practice in. It was actually rather full for a Wednesday, about 20 people or so! There's a new skater that I introduced myself to, his name is Jonathan. He's been to the adult session a few times with his girlfriend (I assume that's who she is). He's college age, has a nice waltz jump and some other single jumps. Don't think I've seen any doubles or Axel. Seems nice enough, and it's always nice to see more men out.

I spent a good chunk of time working on the waltz jump walkthrough. I did a zillion of them (okay, maybe not, but it felt like it). The good thing is that they feel very comfortable now. I'm still a little touchy on putting the R foot down, though -- I tend to put it down twice, if that makes sense. I'm putting it down on the toepick as Anna wants me to although I'm not sure how well I'm doing the rest of it. Still, it was good solid practice and makes me feel better about things.

I spent some time (of course) on 3s and Mohawks and other stuff. I experimented a bit with my back crossovers, especially at the end of the session when it wasn't so crowded and I could do them in BIG circles. Fun! What I was experimenting with is having my palms up instead of down. I don't know if I blogged about this before or not, but it occurred to me that having my palms up might help me to keep from hunching my shoulders and also might keep me turned into the circle more. I'm not sure yet about the result -- it seemed like it improved them but it might be wishful thinking.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Nationals Exhibition

I finally got to watch my tape of the Nationals Exhibitions from Sunday. Wow! There was a lot of great skating. I was annoyed (peeved, even) to discover that Kimmie Meissner's skate was partially pre-empted by a network news announcement of Johnny Carson's death. I mean, I'm sorry he's dead, but the news would have waited, y'know? As it was I lost half of her skate. Grr! I've always loved Sasha Cohen's Romeo and Juliet program... she is such a beautiful, elegant skater; and my God! What extension on her spirals and Charlottes! Sheesh!

There was Johnny Weir. Johnny Weird. He IS weird, but wow, very talented. And, more importantly, very talented in the way, I think, that international judges like. I think he'll get a silver at Worlds, perhaps better if Plushy has problems. I really like Timothy Goebel much more, though, and it's nice to see how he has matured and seems so much more comfortable in his own skin now.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Getting Back On The Horse

At the beginning of the 5 p.m. freestyle session the skating director called everyone together and talked about the freestyle rules that were implemented last week, and how everyone needs to "play nice together" so to speak. People that don't may be suspended from the rink. In this one-rink town that's a pretty serious sentence.

After that we started my lesson. Anna wanted to work first on forward crossovers, and to start with the MITF pattern. It was a little difficult though since everyone was warming up and they kept skating into my pattern, so after a couple of minutes we gave up on that and just worked on one circle. Anna said it's her New Year's resolution for me to eliminate my toe-pushing on my crossovers (she says she makes resolutions for her skaters so she doesn't have to make them for herself! :-)). So we worked on them on the circle for a bit with some success. Anna stressed lifting the crossed-under foot from the hip, and that combined with a feeling of pushing from the heel seemed to help a lot. At least, I know what I'm supposed to do, anyway :-). She also suggested I might want to get some ankle weights and work on strengthening the muscles for the underpush. We finished this part by working again through the perimeter power crossover pattern briefly.

From there we went on to revisit bunny hops. I'd worked on these a little bit, but not a whole lot and I felt very dorky. After a bit of review though I was able to do some that were decent. Main emphasis was on having the free leg and the arms coming forward as one, and (of course) on looking up; also on jumping from the top toepick.

Finally we were back to getting on the horse... back to the waltz jump walkthrough. This was a bit rough. Anna wanted me back to stepping down onto the toepick and turning on that. I managed this a few times and then we were out of time. Anna wants me to work on this before Friday and we'll revisit it then.

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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sunday Evening Skate

Since I didn't get my butt out of bed this morning to attend the freestyle session, I went to the first hour of the 5 - 7 p.m. "family skate." While I was there I bumped into an old friend who was there with her daughter, so I wound up spending a good chunk of my time socializing. Still, I did get some stuff done. I spent a good chunk of time working on that backspin and got a couple of slightly better ones. I'd characterize it by saying that it feels slightly less weird.

Beyond that I worked a bit on crossovers, the spin entrance, Mohawks and 3-turns and some spins. A good general workout. I am a little concerned about my inability lately to get up early on Sundays and skate; but I have to admit that I was tired all week and didn't get to bed early on Saturday night so it wasn't surprising. Sometimes I worry about my motivation level though.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Saturday Zoo

As usual I skated the Saturday public session, and as usual it was quite crowded and the ice was dreadful. I don't know what I was thinking in yesterday's entry -- there was no way I was going to try working on a backspin on ice that rough! Duh!

Anyway, I did work a lot on the Mohawk combo. My LFI Mohawk had kind of deteriorated over the last few weeks but now it seems to be back where it was, so that's good. Not much else to report. The excitement of the session was at the end when I was leaving and I misplaced my wallet. Fortunately Tate Racine found it for me (it had fallen out of my skate bag on the floor in the restaurant, under the table). Phew! What a relief. Thanks to Tate for finding and returning it to me.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Back At It

My lesson today was my first in a week and a half, and it was my first time on the ice since Monday, so it was a bit of getting back into things.

Before the lesson we had a chance to talk about music -- Anna had had a chance to listen to the CD I gave her. She liked the Man of La Mancha overture, and she especially liked the Gershwin. She said it's very carefree, which is very true. We talked about it being kind of ... Gene Kelly-esque. So we're on the same page. I was concerned that it's too difficult but she says she can make it simpler. So she's going to play around with both the Gershwin and the JFK soundtrack. Fortunately, as she said, there's no pressure on this since I won't need this for some time (like, the fall or later). So that's nice.

For today's lesson:
  • chassés -- Coming from our discussion of the Gershwin piece, Anna had me look at the chassé. I had not done these in quite a while. Anna wants me to practice them to the same pattern as the forward perimeter power crossovers, with the chassé where the crossover would go.
  • spins -- just as a reminder we looked at my two-foot spin and the one-foot spin. The two-foot spin is looking fairly good -- Anna says it's about as good as it's going to get. On the one-foot spin Anna said I need to keep my free foot from wandering out to the side, and of course (as always) to keep the free side up.
  • backspin -- Anna seems fascinated by this, so we looked at it for a bit. I was able to get almost a full rev on the backspin (from a two-foot spin). The main problem seems to be that I tend to look down, probably because I'm scared since it feels so strange! Anna reminded me to really feel the ball of the foot. I had worked on it a little and I'll try to get some time on it tomorrow at the public skate if I can since spins are a good thing to practice then.
  • scratch spin entrance -- back to this. Anna was very pleased with the progress I've made on the back crossovers into the step forward, so we mostly worked on the step forward and what follows after. Anna says she doesn't have any magic words :-) to help me feel that. We worked on it for a while and I did make some progress. A key seems to be to be looking where I'm going (as always) and to feel a certain... "leftness"? A feeling of the head being over the left side of the body? I'm not describing it well. Also Anna mentioned that I need to be sure not to step too wide when I do the step forward, as my weight is not over my skate when that happens; and to keep the free hip back when stepping forward. Some progress and a lot to work on still.
  • Mohawks -- we worked these on the line. Anna's main emphasis is to keep the head up and to feel the free foot extending back after the turn -- and of course keep looking in the same direction. These are somewhat improved.
  • Mohawk pattern -- we went back to the Mohawk combo from Hell. I'd not worked on this for a while but it was somewhat improved -- especially, I was quite happy that the cross step isn't so hard or scary as it used to be. We worked these in both directions. I need to practice this more. Anna reminded me that the upper body should be in pretty much the same position all through these. Easier said than done!
  • back 2-foot turn -- since we were working on the circle, we went back to my other favorite combo :-(, the FO3 --> back 2-foot turn. We spent a fair amount of time on this in both directions. The back turn is really the crux of the matter, and it improved a little. The main points seem to be to feel a lifting of the toes and/or rock back on the heel *slightly* (as Anna said, "do this without falling backwards!"), and feeling the feet turn abruptly and together. It needs lots of work.

After the lesson we talked about our schedule and where I'm at. It turns out we will stick with Fridays at 12:45 (and Mondays at 5) at least until either my schedule or the freestyle schedule changes. As for where I'm at -- Anna said "I should go away for 3 weeks more often!" since I had worked pretty hard while she was gone, and she said it showed. As far as testing, we talked about the moves and freestyle test and agreed to make the May moves test our short-term goal. I always like to know what I'm aiming for. Anna said that the crossovers will need some real improvement before then, and of course the alternating 3s. Everything else should be okay.

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Off Day

Today was an off day in two senses -- first, I had the day off from work (Martin Luther King Day), and second, I was just feeling "off" when skating this evening at the 6:10 freestyle session. I was supposed to have a lesson at 5 p.m. but Anna had a problem getting back to town from her weekend trip so we had to postpone.

The session had about 8 or 10 people, with 3 people taking lessons, so -- busy but not badly so. Despite my funk (had a splitting headache as well as still getting over this rotten cold) I had an okay practice. I worked on pretty much everything except jumps. No great progress on anything but it's coming along.

The rink has published a list of freestyle rules and asked all the skaters (and their coaches!) to sign them. The rules are pretty common sense stuff, nothing new or exciting.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sunday Zoo

The rink has a new 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday evening "family skate." Since I didn't get my butt out of bed to go to the freestyle sessions this morning (I was still really, really tired from my trip), I got about an hour's worth of skating in at this session.

The session was somewhat crowded and so I mostly stayed in the center and worked on spins and 3-turns. I had a nice conversation with Allison, a young skater who's in FS1 (so, therefore, a bit better than me). She gave me some pointers on the spin entrance. She proclaimed 3-turns to be "easy!" but later admitted that the inside 3s are a bit tricky. I'd guess she's 8 or 9 :-). All in all not a horribly productive session but since I have a lesson tomorrow it's nice to keep my hand in a bit.


I just skimmed my tapes from today's Nationals, and was treated to seeing Michelle Kwan win her 9th US title! As if that weren't exciting enough, seeing Kimmie Meissner land a triple Axel was pretty darn good. Wow!

While it was clearly good enough to win, I was a little disappointed in Kwan's performance. I know she has a better one inside her, and I hope that it comes out at Worlds. It's my hope that she will go into the Worlds competition this year feeling like she can just go for it -- it's not the Olympics, and she didn't win it last year, so it's just an opportunity to let it flow. Here's hoping, anyway.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I skated the last half of the public session today, but I was very unproductive. I was kind of tired both from my trip and a 4-hour choir rehearsal Saturday morning/mid-day. I didn't accomplish a lot at all.

Skating In Vegas

I was in Las Vegas Wednesday through Friday for work, and of course I brought my skates with me!

Wednesday night I decided to check out the ice at Caesar's Palace. There is a small (I'd guess 60 x 60 or s) outdoor rink there in front of the casino that is open from late November to mid-January. It's a bit pricey ($10 for a 2-hr session), and the ice has got to be some of the hardest and most brittle I've ever seen (and did I mention how small it was?). Still, it was definitely a treat since I'd never skated outdoors before. It was not bad, but the smallness of the rink was definitely limiting. I did manage to work on some 3-turns and spins; there was not enough room for moves of any kind really. There was a teenage girl there who was fairly good -- did a very nice Axel to impress her boyfriend (and the rest of us). I don't know what impressed me more, her doing it on that ice or doing it in such a small space. Very fun!

Thursday afternoon I went up to the Fiesta Ice Arena, an ice rink inside a casino (after all, it is Las Vegas). The Fiesta only has one ice sheet, but it was pretty nice ice. I skated the 3:30 public session. For the first half hour or so it was just a few figure skaters, several taking lessons. After that there were more recreational skaters and it crowded up a bit. Still, I got some good practice in on a lot of different stuff, including taking some time to work on my right-foot lunge. I've been really bad about practicing bad-side lunges and spirals so it was definitely good to get some time in. All in all it was a nice session and I liked the ice a lot.

Thursday night I was going to go out and do Vegas-style stuff but the Nationals were on on ESPN2 (dance and pairs) so I stayed in my room and watched. It's a treat since I don't have cable at home, but of course I guess it really proves I'm a skating geek when I stay in my room in Vegas to watch skating instead of being out partying. They have a new "skycam" they were using in the broadcast for the first time and it was quite cool -- they used it to follow the ice dancers down the ice so you could really get a good view of their moves. Neat!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Stars On Ice

I got to see Stars On Ice tonight (the tour actually came to Tucson!). Appearing were:
  • Sarah Hughes
  • Yuka Sato
  • Todd Eldredge
  • Steve Cousins
  • Kurt Browning
  • Alexei Yagudin
  • Salé and Pelletier
  • Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze
  • Ina & Zimmerman
Really, it was a terrific production. I had on-ice seats so it was very "up close and personal." I almost got to shake hands with Jamie Salé, but she had to scamper back for her curtain call just before she got to me (grr!).

What I liked best about the show was, it wasn't just a collection of freestyle programs. It had a definite theme ("Imagination"), it had humor, it had cohesion, it had flow. While there were many great performances, I have to say my favorites were Todd Eldredge and Salé and Pelletier. Todd Eldredge has always impressed me with his wonderful flow and line; he make everything look so effortless. And the Canadian pair! Wow, I've just always loved to watch them, there's so much energy in their performance and so much style and presentation. I also really enjoyed watching Yuka Sato; I'd never seen her skate.

Besides all the great skating, there were wonderful costumes and some awesome special effects and lighting. It was a wonderful evening. If Stars On Ice comes to your town, see it! It's worth it.

Skating 102

Today was my first lesson of 2005. We were "back to basics" still:
  • forward edges -- I'd gotten a bit sloppy about this. In particular, the problems I'd noticed with holding the edge recently on the FO edges was basically because I was skipping the whole "set" portion of the edge. Once I fixed that they were much better.
  • back edges -- in general Anna thinks these are much improved. I'm still, still having problems getting my head to turn all the way coming back to the line. I also need to have a better pushoff to begin with. Still, they are coming along.
  • FO3s -- we looked at these first on the line, then on the circle. I started with the RFO3 -- a persistent problem (across all my 3s, not just the RFO3) is not pushing onto a good edge. I tend to push onto a flat, which makes me wind up forcing the turn since I get no help from being on an edge. Also Anna reminded me to be more deliberate about the turn and not rush the preparation -- push, set, rotate, set, turn, set! After working the RFO3 we went to the LFO3, which is much nicer. Same problems, but I am able to compensate more for having a poor edge there so it's not so obvious.
  • FI3s -- we worked first on the LFI3. Lots of feedback here! It's definitely improved but much the same feedback as from the FO3s. Also Anna reminded me to really get some stretch on the arms before and after the rotation -- something I'd noted to myself before too. If I just try to put the trailing arm back I tend to have my shoulder hunched and forward; I need to put it down and stretching the arm out helps with that. We worked on the RFI3 briefly and while it's much better than the LFI3 the feedback is mostly the same.

I am out of town the rest of the week, so no other lessons for this week. Anna wants to move my Friday lesson to Thursday at the same time (12:45). Next week Anna says we'll look at spins and Mohawks on Monday, and then back to the waltz jump on Thursday.

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Monday, January 10, 2005

Ice Time Crunch

[NB: read all the way down before panicking!]

I didn't skate yesterday or today due to a bad cold I have. However, I just got this email passed along to me:


Beginning next Monday, January 17, all Monday and Tuesday
afternoon skating will be canceled indefinitely.

This includes the following ice times:

Monday and Tuesday Adult Skate - 12:00 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.

Monday and Tuesday Public Skating - 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday Freestyles: 1:50 - 2:50 p.m.,
2:50 - 3:50 p.m.
4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday Freestyles: 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

The building will be closed until 5 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays from now on.
Thank you for your patronage and we apologize for the inconvenience.

This is majorly bad news. First of all I have lessons scheduled for Mondays which will have to be rescheduled. Secondly, with 6 hours of freestyles going away the remaining ones are going to be a zoo. Yikes. This is not good.

Update: I should read more carefully. The 5 p.m. Monday freestyle should continue since it says the building will OPEN at 5 p.m. So maybe it will still be an option. Of course it's still *5* hours of freestyles going away. For me it also means competing with all of Anna's other students for her valuable time. Eeep.

UPDATED UPDATE: I just got an email that there's been an update to the change of hours:

To all Polar Ice Skaters:

Beginning next Monday, January 17, 2005, all Monday and Tuesday afternoon skating will be cancelled indefinitely.

This includes the following ice times:
Monday and Tuesday Adult Skate - 12:00-1:20pm
Monday and Tuesday Public Skating - 1:30-5:00pm
Monday Freestyles: 1:50-2:50pm 2:50-3:50PM


MONDAY 4:00-5:00PM
TUESDAY 4:00-5:00PM
THURSDAY 2:15-3:15PM
FRIDAY 1:50-2:50PM
SATURDAY 7:10-8:10AM
POWER 8:10-8:40AM
SUNDAY 9:00-10:00AM

So -- don't quite know what to make of that, but it's only 3 hours of freestyle cut instead of 5. And two adult skates, one of which I usually tried to make. Anna's going to have a fun time figuring out a new schedule for all this. Phew.
As yet there is nothing on the Polar Ice website about the changes.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Saturday Zoo

As usual I skated the public session today. It was horrendously crowded and the ice was horrible, but then, I'm mostly there to socialize anyway so I don't let it bother me. I had a nice time talking with folks and catching up after Christmas.

I did work on my crossovers and spins and spin entrance and 3s. They're all about the same as yesterday. I'm really looking forward to my lesson on Tuesday.

Friday, January 07, 2005


I attended the 5 p.m. freestyle today. I worked a lot on 3s (still) and other miscellaneous stuff. I think I made some good progress toward the end of the session on controlling the exit edge on the FO3s. I think when I was considering this before I was thinking too much about my foot and my leg, and not enough about my hip, and specifically what it would/should feel like. Coming out of a spin in the landing position, I realized that that lifting feeling I have in the hip is exactly the same (well, pretty much) as I need to feel after the turn. I was able to vastly improve my exit, at least a couple of times. Of course consistency will come later... Still I was very happy at this insight and progress.

Local Skaters In The Spotlight

The Tucson Citizen had a nice article yesterday about skating in Tucson. There are interviews with Ashley Efaw, Dimitri Makansi, and Lauren Kriegel and some good general PR. Also nice pictures of Ashley and Dima!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


I attended the adult skate today. It was moderately crowded. I spent a good chunk of time on edges, especially back edges, and got a compliment on my BI edges from Gary. I also spent some time on crossovers (forward and back), 3s, and the scratch spin entrance. At the end of the session I finished up by doing the forward edges as per the test, and back crossovers as per the test.

I had a chance to double-check with Marge about the edge pattern, and she confirmed that the edges MUST be done starting on the right foot (as the rulebook says). Someone on RSSIR had claimed it doesn't matter. I suppose it's possible particular judges don't care, but I'm glad I checked since chances are that Marge will be the one judging me. From now on I'll always practice them starting on the right foot.

All in all it was a good session; no breakthroughs but some solid work. I need to spend more time on crossovers! Especially CW, I chicken out on those way too much.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I skated the adult session today. As usual for a Tuesday it was pretty quiet, just 4 of us. I worked mostly (again) on 3s. I spent a good chunk of time on the LFI3 but I don't think I managed to do a single one where I didn't put my free foot down at least briefly. GRRR! It was very frustrating. On the positive side I am getting better at doing some kind of step-forward out of the FO3 (the RFO3 is better in this regard).

I seem to have sorted out my problem with my LFO, as I suspected I needed to lift the free hip a bit more, and also have a bit better kneebend (what a shock :-)).

I think I'm going to back off of the LFI3 a bit, I think I'm pushing too hard on it. I need to let Anna see where I'm at and get some feedback from her. She should be back Friday but I don't have a lesson with her until next Tuesday. Waaah!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Foggy Freestyle

Since I had the evening free (no choir practice 'til 1/24) I decided to skate the 6:10 freestyle instead of coffee club. Wow, what a great choice! First, I was the only person there, and second the ice was freshly surfaced. Whee!

I worked a bit of everything, but especially worked on 3s. These are improving. I was actually able to skate LFO lobe, RFO3, step forward, LFO lobe, RFO3! The step forward was a little weak but all in all I was really pleased. The inside 3s are improving too. I spent some time on stroking and it seems improved, especially the right foot.

All in all it was quite a workout. Since it was raining today the humidity was up and the dehumidifiers were having a hard time keeping up, so -- fog! A little. Not enough to be troublesome, but enough to make you think your eyes are going ;-).

I meant to blog that my LFO edges are a little troublesome lately. I'm not sure why, but they are just feeling -- off. Maybe I'm dropping my free hip -- that's the usual stock answer :-). I'll have to play with it a bit.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

I made some resolutions a year ago. I think I mostly executed them, except that I still don't practice my right-foot, weaker side stuff enough. Still, I was much better this year about keeping my blades sharp, about enjoying things more, and reasonably good about practicing the hard stuff.

It was a long year, with surgeries and injuries and miscellaneous stuff. Still, I've come a long, long way. My goal for last year in particular was to learn all the Basic 8 skills solidly. I'd say that for the most part I've accomplished that, and if I hadn't been off the ice for almost 2 months due to my broken wrist there would be absolutely no question. The only questionable elements are the 1-foot spin (don't have all the pieces together yet), the ballet jump, and the mazurka; and of course the waltz jump is still in the beginning stages. Still, a lot accomplished. I skated the holiday show. I am a lot more confident and comfortable and pleased with my skating, though of course I'm not "satisfied."

My goals for 2005:
  • solidify my waltz jump
  • learn the scratch spin entrance
  • learn another jump (toe loop or salchow?)
  • pass the adult pre-bronze moves test
  • pass the adult pre-bronze freestyle test
I am not putting anything about competing on here for now. While I'd like to compete, it's secondary at this point to testing. Besides, when I compete, I'd like to have actual, ah, "competition." That is, I'd like to be competing against other men. That might take some doing and some travel (and therefore $).

I'm really looking forward to this year!


The rink was open today, and had a marathon public session for New Year's Day (12:30 - 8:30!). I arrived around 2:30 and stayed until almost 7, but I took frequent breaks and had dinner so I probably "only" skated about 3.5 hours.

I worked on crossovers only a bit, but worked especially on skating on the crossed-over position. I was able to do this quite nicely! I'm not sure why, but it was okay and I even was able to have some ankle-roll on the crossed-under foot. Good stuff!

I spent considerable time on 3s, especially on working to get the transition from one to another. I had some success but it's still very rough and will take a lot more effort.