Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lessons with Anna

[10/20/09 -- I've created this list and backdated it to the end of the month with my last lesson with Anna]

Lesson #129 "Back Edges Woodshedding"

Lesson #128 "Jump-O-Rama"

Lesson #127 "Salchow!"

Lesson #126 "New Moves Pattern"

Lesson #125 "Slow But Steady"

Lesson #124 "Forward Spin!"

Lesson #123 "XOs, Jumps, Spins"

Lesson #122 "Edges, Waltz-8, Spins"

Lesson #121 "Tape Terror"

Lesson #120 "More Salchow Prep Etc.

Lesson #119 "Another Dorky Day"

Lesson #118 "Waltz-8, Spins, Waltz Jump"

Lesson #117 "Inside 3s"

Lesson #116 "Moves Workout"

Lesson #115 "Basics & Small Jumps"

Lesson #114 "Spins, Edges, Turns"

Lesson #113 "Spirals"

Lesson #112 "Back In The Woodshed"

Lesson #111 "Skating In A Fog"

Lesson #110 "The Right Foot Show"

Lesson #109 "3s, Sals & Toes"

Lesson #108 "More BI3s"

Lesson #107 "Waltz Jumps & XOs"

Lesson #106 "Power-3s And BI3"

Lesson #105 "Minor Breakthroughs"

Lesson #104 "Fun With Salchow Entrance"

Lesson #103 "Move-A-Ganza"

Lesson #102 "Waltz Jump & Spin Entrance"

Lesson #101 "Jump Entrances"

Lesson #100 "Milestone"

Lesson #99 "FXOs"

Lesson #98 "Jumps & Spins"

Lesson #97 "Alt-3s"

Lesson #96 "Moves Test Runthrough"

Lesson #95 "Michelle Kwan Has Nothing To Worry About"

Lesson #94 "Yet Another Backwards Day"

Lesson #93 "Freestyle Stuff"

Lesson #92 "Aggressive!"

Lesson #91 "Waltz-8 & 5-Step"

Lesson #90 "Turns & Fun Stuff"

Lesson #89 "Moves & BXRs"

Lesson #88 "Moves Woodshedding"

Lesson #87 "In N' Out"

Lesson #86 "Crossovers & 3s"

Lesson #85 "Back To Jumping"

Lesson #84 "More 5-Step Mohawk"

Lesson #83 "5-Step Mohawk & Power-3s"

Lesson #82 "Still In The Trenches"

Lesson #81 "Spins & BI3 Prep"

Lesson #80 "Spin Entrance & Waltz-8"

Lesson #79 "Basics"

Lesson #78 "Crossovers, Crossovers, Crossovers"

Lesson #77 "Spins & BXOs"

Lesson #76 "Waltz Jump Entrance"

Lesson #75 "New Moves"

Lesson #74 "Waltzmania"

Lesson #73 "Moves & Spins"

Lesson #72 "Waltz Jump Progress"

Lesson #71 "In The Trenches"

Lesson #70 "Workout"

Lesson #69 "Waltz Jump, Still"

Lesson #68 "Turns & Spins"

Lesson #67 "Connecting Moves"

Lesson #66 "Waltz Jump Part 2"

Lesson #65 "Getting Back On The Horse"

Lesson #64 "Back At It"

Lesson #63 "Skating 102"

Lesson #62 "Skating 101"

Lesson #61 "Waltz Jump!"

Lesson #60 "Backspin And Waltz Jump Prep"

Lesson #59 "Waltz Jump Prep"

Lesson #58 "Putting It Together"

Lesson #57 "Back Spin, Ho!"

Lesson #56 "Another Backwards Day"

Lesson #55 "Control, Control, Control"

Lesson #54 "Crossovers, Still"

Lesson #53 "A New Trick"

Lesson #52 "LFI3, Again"

Lesson #51 "Slip-Sliding Away"

Lesson #50 "Freestyle"

Lesson #49 "Edges & Spins"

Lesson #48 "Spin Prep"

Lesson #47 "Slavedriver!"

Lesson #46 "Mohawk Combo From Hell"

Lesson #45 "More Woodshedding"

Lesson #44 "Woodshedding"

Lesson #43 "All 3s, All The Time"

Lesson #42 "Solid Work"

Lesson #41 "Crossrolls Etc."

Lesson #40 "'Wow!'"

Lesson #39 "Mo' 'Hawks"

Lesson #38 "Back Edge Frustration"

Lesson #37 "Freestyle Stuff"

Lesson #36 "Turns, Etc."

Lesson #35 "Potpourri"

Lesson #34 "Forward Skating"

Lesson #33 "Swing Rolls & Waltz Walkthrough"

Lesson #32 "Turn, Turn, Turn"

Lesson #31 "Workout"

Lesson #30 "More Back Edges"

Lesson #29 "Another Backwards Day"

Lesson #28 "Bunnyhops And Mazurkas!"

Lesson #27 "Back Mohawks & Choctaws"

Lesson #26 "Best Foot Forward"

Lesson #25 "Another Backwards Day"

Lesson #24 "Spin Progress"

Lesson #23 "Moves"

Lesson #22 "Edges & Turns"

Lesson #21 "Backwards Day"

Lesson #20 "Back Edges"

Lesson #19 "Potpourri"

Lesson #18 "Mohawk Overtime"

Lesson #17 "BO Edges And Spin Hell"

Lesson #16 "3s, 3s, 3s"

Lesson #15 "It's All Coming Back To Me Now"

Lesson #14 "'Perfect'"

Lesson #13 "LFI3!

Lesson #12 "Jumps"

Lesson #11 "Spirals and Lunges"

Lesson #10 "Motorin'"

Lesson #9 "Darn LFI3s!"

Lesson #8 "More Progress!"

Lesson #7 "Progress"

Lesson #6 "Dorky Day"

Lesson #5 "Fun With Crossovers"

Lesson #4 "Spinning Like A Dervish"

Lesson #3 "Edges, Edges, Edges"

Lesson #2 "Edge Pressure"

Lesson #1 "RFO3!"

First (Trial) Lesson With Anna

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Leaving Tucson

I've been telling people at the rink for a few days, but didn't want to say anything until I'd given notice at work... I will be leaving Tucson in mid-January. I've accepted a job at Intel in Portland, Oregon (Hillsboro actually). The good news (skating wise) is that there are two rinks relatively near where I'll be, and they both have morning freestyle time. The bad news is that they both are only single sheets of ice, and skating on public ice there will be a challenge other than Sat/Sun afternoon "zoo".

I am really going to miss the Tucson rink though. As a facility I think it's better than the ones I'll be going to (although there's not enough ice available). But mostly it's going to be hard to leave behind the wonderful folks I've come to know so well, both young and old alike. Worst of all will be leaving behind my wonderful coach, Anna. Most of my readers know the immense regard I have for her, and how grateful I am for all I've learned from her. I feel like we've made such great progress, especially in the last few months, even with scheduling problems and the rink closing etc. While I am sure I'll find a new and wonderful coach, I also think it will be very hard to find a coach as talented, dedicated, and just-right-for-me as Anna. Together we've built a really solid foundation for my skating, one that I'm confident I can build on. I just had especially hoped I could take my first tests with her, and have her choreograph my first program.... but it looks like it's not meant to be. *sigh*

Tentatively my last lesson will be 1/9 or 1/11, and my last time skating will probably be coffee club 1/11.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I got to skate the adult session today. Worked on jumps and spins and crossovers for the most part. My waltz jump is progressing nicely (did 10), and the Salchow very slowly (did 7 or 8). I worked on the spin entrance, with some feedback from Dana. She says I'm bringing my hip forward (rewind to Anna saying "Keep your hip back!"). I did make some progress with it.

Today was special because Maureen Linhardt from the AdultEdge adult skating Yahoo group was visiting. It was nice to meet her! She is a very powerful skater.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Since I was off, I got to the adult session again. Wow, I can't remember the last time I got to skate 3 times in a week... it's really good. Spent some extended time on my Salchow, and my waltz jump. The session was on the back ice again (a balmy 38 degrees this time :-)), and was relatively crowded -- 16-18 people. Besides the usual denizens, we had 3 "good" skaters present -- Keila, a girl I don't know, and another one I've seen occasionally (Jenna?). As usual it's hard to stay focused on my own skating when the higher level skaters are around -- I am so tempted to just watch them. Keila's spins are so amazing, and Jenna's landing position is strong and controlled... good inspirations.

Merry Christmas to everyone! May Santa bring you a new pair of boots and a freestyle pass! :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I skated the adult session again today. We were on the back ice and it was a frosty 35 degrees!! I got about an hour's worth of skating in.

Worked on the Salchow a bit, some spins (yech), stroking, crossovers, 3s, the waltz jump. There were a lot of people there, including some I'd not seen in a while. It was really nice to see Dana and Keila there. I'd forgotten what a great spinner Keila is. As I was leaving I got to see some of my younger skating buddies who were arriving for the public session -- it was great to see Rebecca, the Apodacas, and young Tate visiting from the Northwest. He's grown!

Monday, December 19, 2005


I got to skate at coffee club today, first time in a week. Sheesh! I hate being off the ice for more than a couple of days, I feel so awkward and out of sorts. I need to get back to more of a routine but it will be a few weeks before that happens, probably.

I worked most things, except, no Salchow today. Did some nice waltz jumps though, it's amazing what taking your time on each element can do. Spins are pretty sucky right now, unfortunately. Worked on stroking and crossovers and 3s. Nothing much else to report.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I attended the adult session today. I was supposed to have a lesson, but Anna is sick so no lesson for me :-(. I worked on waltz jumps, Salchows, stroking, crossovers, and 3s. Spent some time on the spin entrance and spins in general. I've not practiced these much lately and it shows -- yech!

This week (and this month, in general) is going to be a bad one for skating :-(. Oh well!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Escaped to adult session today for about 75 minutes of skating. Worked on most things, but no spins or lunges or spirals (haven't worked those last in a while). Spent some quality time on the edge drills Anna gave me, and also working on stroking and trying to get the roll of the ankle on the push. Had some good progress with this. Did 10 waltz jumps and 5 salchows; nothing much to report.

I decided I really need to fix my LFI3 and so spent some time on them. I'm getting better at figuring out for myself what I need to fix, at least some of the time; in this case I realized that part of my problem was just that I was not looking where I was going. Instead, I was winding up either looking backward or into the circle. Once I figured that out and fixed it they improved quite a bit. They are still quite scratchy and I need to do a zillion more of them, but at least they are happening. I was very pleased with this.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Back Edges Woodshedding

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz jump -- we started out by me showing her the tracings from some waltz jumps I'd done during my warmup time. I am coming straighter off the pick than I used to (yea!). Lift on these has really improved. Anna emphasized that I should be landing on more or less the same circle as I took off from; right now it's not quite matching up (I'm jumping a bit too much out of the circle). Also she says my landing is perhaps a bit cheated; I'm not coming around enough before the landing. More stuff to work on! Still I'm pretty happy with them -- they are much better than a couple of months ago.
  • BXOs -- we spent quite a bit of time on these. We started with the 'bad' side. The good news (such as it is) is that when I'm doing them, I'm not so conscious of "this is the bad side." I don't mean they are equally good (the CW are still much better than CCW), rather they don't feel so awkward. We spent some time just working the BXOs, then we went to working just on skating a BO edge and holding the free foot in front. That morphed into doing "ISI style" BXOs (i.e., pick the foot up). Yech! Those are hard! I did not enjoy them at all. The point of all this was to get me to sit back on my blade more, get more kneebend, and really get my weight over my skating hip. There was some improvement but they still need work. Anna pointed out that the way the free leg comes off the ice doing this (backward stroking, really) should be like a slide chasse. It feels very unnatural!
  • 5-step mohawk -- we worked on these, and especially the slide chasse since we'd talked about it previously. Anna made me work on not being sloppy with the mohawk -- keeping the feet close together and not bringing the foot so far forward. I can do nice mohawks when I concentrate, I just tend not to :-(. Anna reminded me I need to do an entire side of these, or better yet 2 laps of them, at a go -- in order to get used to the flow and to have an opportunity to fix things as I go. These are still a bit "lurchy" at times. We also spent a fair amount of time on the step forward with perhaps some small improvement. Anna talked about getting more inside edge pressure on these -- on the initial FI edge, on the BI edge after the Mohawk, on the push into the BO, on the push into the FO, and on the FI last edge. She had me practice doing FI edges and trying to get more ankle roll on the edge. While doing this drill she emphasized that you have to lift the free hip to compensate. It's a little tricky. I can kind of do this on FI edges. FO edges, clearly I'm not there yet (but I need to be).
  • Salchow -- finished up with these. My problems with these are all Anna's fault, I've decided -- it's difficult for me to not continue looking where I'm going after the 3-turn, and it's difficult for me not to keep my feet close together on the turn; both things Anna drilled into me when learning 3-turns! For the Salchow, though, I need to turn and be looking back (over left hand) after the 3, and I need the free leg extended behind me. These are improving slowly -- it's all about timing. I'm not particularly scared to do these, but I wasn't as aggressive today as I was last week.
We had another long lesson. I'm pretty sure it was 45 minutes long! Wow. I was a bit whupped afterward.

Anna mentioned before the lesson that she would like to see me in Coronation Comets for my next blade. She feels that the bigger picks on the Ace would discourage me from really learning to do what's needed to put the toepick in the ice -- i.e. it would encourage me to be lazy. So, Comets it will be.

I also mentioned to Anna that today was the 2-year anniversary of my first lesson (it was a trial lesson) with her. Wow, it's been a long two years and I've accomplished a lot.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Go Katlynn!!

I just checked the USFSA results and also got an email from Katlynn McNab's dad -- she finished 4th in Juvenile Ladies at Junior Nationals in Colorado this weekend! Whoo-hoo! This is Katlynn's first trip to Jr. Nationals, and a 4th place finish is a great way to start. Way to go Katlynn!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday Zoo Returns!

This weekend was the rink's grand (re-)opening. They had free public sessions Saturday and Sunday afternoon; I went to Saturday's public session. It was not as crowded as I expected, in part because they had both rinks open at the same time.

Anna was there and gave me some free coaching :-), just a comment about my spin entrance. Most of my favorite rink buddies were there and it was really nice to see everyone out and about. I did about 2 hours of skating but nothing horribly memorable stands out.