Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back Edges, BXOs, Half Flip, LFI3, Spins

Today's lesson was at 6:30 a.m... driving to the rink in the dark and fog was not fun, and I was really tired (up late) which didn't help. I had a pretty good skate and a good lesson though.

Today's lesson:
  • Back edges -- I was working on these when Sonya came on the ice, so by the usual coachly wisdom we worked on them for a couple minutes. I still need to work on getting the free foot in front and holding that position for a bit before rotating; Sonya also reminded me I need to keep the free shoulder down (i.e. keep the shoulders even) and to remember to look where I'm going, especially coming back to the line.
  • BXOs -- I asked to look at these since we didn't get to them last week; we did them in the Moves pattern. I assume I'm making sufficient progress that Sonya could start telling me that I need to roll the ankle on the underpush. These are slowly coming along, but I got a little freaked out by cross traffic (ice dancer and a couple of people on program). Still, there were some occasional ones that were actually "just right." So I just need to spend more time on these.
  • Half Flip -- just a little time on these. It would appear I'm doing them right, I just need to work on getting more actual jump. Sonya says I have enough knee-bend that I ought to be able to get some air out of it if I just, well, do it.
  • LFI3 -- I'm so dumb! I didn't really want to work on these with Sonya until I had had a chance to work them on my own some more, but I couldn't resist telling Sonya about my Jedi mind trick -- so of course she insisted on seeing them. She was pleased with my progress, but reminded me that I need to turn into the circle more. I also need to develop some semblance of a check :-).
  • Spins -- We finished off with just a brief look at these. They still aren't there. Sonya had me work a little on getting a better knee-bend on the step forward, and trying to keep the free hip and leg held back longer (how many zillions of times did Anna tell me that?!).
After my lesson I stayed and worked on various things until the end of the session. No lesson next week as I will be off to Arizona to visit friends and family, including stopping by my old rink. I'm really looking forward to being back at the Tucson rink and seeing all my skating buddies young and old(er).

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jedi Mind Tricks

I skated the 5:45 p.m. FS at Shiny Rink tonight. It's a short session (45 minutes) but it was pretty productive.

I spent some quality time on the half flip. I can at least go through it but I'm not particularly *jumping* at this point. I worked on just skating the back edge, picking in and jumping up. It needs a lot more work but at least some small progress.

I managed to work a Jedi mind trick on myself to help with my problematic LFI3. I worked on them earlier in the session without much progress, so I came back just before the end of the session and started alternating doing an RFO3, then an LFI3 in the exact same place, alternating back and forth. It really helped -- I was able to half convince myself the change of foot didn't matter. I think this will really help me get over my mental block on this turn.

Beyond that, touched on the other stuff -- spins, waltz-8, waltz jumps, FXOs. No BXOs though.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I traveled up to Shiny Rink+ for the evening public session. It seemed like a good idea, but because it's on the other side of Portland, it took me an hour to get there through horrible traffic -- I left at 6:15 or so and got there around 7:20. Coming back only took me half an hour :-).

The ice was only so-so and it was fairly crowded. I spent a good chunk of time on back edges, and also working on the half flip. Beyond that a little time on pretty much everything. No big breakthroughs, but I was glad I got some time in. 1.5 hours of driving for 1 hour of skating doesn't seem like such a great equation, though; I'll probably stick with Valley or Sherwood in the future.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Half Flip, Spins, FXOs

Today's 7 a.m. lesson was a pretty good one:
  • half flip -- we continued where we left off, working from the pick & draw to walking through the jump. I actually did a couple that were almost okay, but of course I wasn't moving yet. It's really not that complicated, but I'll need to work on coordinating things a bit better. Sonya showed me two ways to do this; in one you pretty much turn in place, in the other it's a little more like the waltz jump in that you spread your legs out more (I'm not explaining this well). I'll probably do the second one for now at least, although the first is more flip-like.
  • spins -- we spent some more time on the spin entrance, with perhaps some small progress to show for it. Sonya wants me to focus on stepping back more toward where I came on the step forward, getting a better kneebend and curve, and release the left arm/shoulder when the spin starts. It's a work in progress.
  • FXOs -- Sonya seemed pleased with the progress on these but wants more "push" on the underpush. I need to get better kneebend on these.
All in all a pretty good lesson. Sonya mentioned she'd like to have an off-ice lesson sometime to work on jumping technique. I have a lesson next week, then I'll be on vacation for a week, then I'll be back and should be in what will be my "regular" time slot.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Nice Ice

I went down to Shiny Rink to skate the afternoon public. Unlike the usual zoo-like conditions I'm used to, it wasn't very crowded at all; there were a couple of the infernal EZ-Skaters on the ice though. I really hate those things! Still, it was a good session and the ice was very nice. Minus time for 2 (!) Z-breaks, I had about 2.5 hours of actual skating time.

I worked on the whole gamut of things, but I really tried to work on stuff that I'm lazy about, like bad-side FXOs, LFI3... the usual litany of suspects. My FXOs are really improving and I'm getting a real underpush now even doing them in perimeter stroking, which is good -- it's less scary and is coming more naturally.

I had a chance to chat with Amy, one of the adult skaters I'd met before, and met another adult skater, Mary (this is not the Mary who skates at Valley). Mary's introduction consisted of her catching her toepick doing FXOs and sliding right past me :-). It was pretty funny, actually. It's nice to be making some skating friends finally.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I managed to get to the 7:15 a.m. FS at Valley today, the first time I'd ever been at that session. It was a little crowded, but apparently that was due in part to a test session tomorrow. There was an ice dance pair working hard -- fun to watch, but a bit difficult to work around at times.

I worked on most stuff (no waltz-8 though). No big breakthroughs, but some time on half-flip prep, 3s, waltz jump, a couple brief spins. FXOs are continuing to improve slowly, I'm doing it "right" about 2/3 to 3/4 of the time on the good side and maybe 1/3 on the bad side. It's still really unnerving though to really get the crossed foot out there. BXOs are improving a little bit, I just need to remember to be more mindful of them.

I did work LFI3 a little but not as much as I should. They are still darn scary though. *sigh*

Addendum: I forgot to mention that I got my skates sharpened last Friday (first time since I bought them) and this was my first time skating on them. They were fine. Not as sharp as Jim used to do back in Tucson, but good. I had the pro shop at Shiny Rink do them and they seem to be fine, so yay!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I skated for 75 minutes at the evening public at Valley. I had a pretty good skate. Worked on LFI3s as much as I could stomach (which wasn't much), FXOs, BXOs, waltz jumps, and more.

Insight #1 -- I worked on the waltz-8 and realized that my problem with getting "stuck" on the BO edge was because I wasn't staying turned into the circle for the first part; I was rotating my upper body but trying to keep the free foot in front, which meant I couldn't then move the free foot back later. When I managed to stay turned into the circle I could then rotate at the halfway part of the edge and the whole thing worked much, much better. These are really improving.
Insight #2 -- I spent some time working the half flip entry, and while it's okay with the LFO3 entry, I tried it with the Mohawk entry and that seems to be much, much easier. It's much simpler to keep the LBI edge relatively straight this way. I will talk with Sonya about this when we go back to the half flip and see what she thinks.

All in all a pretty good skate.

Monday, August 07, 2006

BXOs, FI3s And Half Flip Intro

I had my lesson this morning at 6:30. I skated the last half of the 5:30 a.m. FS, then had my lesson and stayed 'til 7:30. For the first half hour (6 - 6:30) the rink was pretty deserted (3 skaters and a coach), after that there were about 10 - 12 I'd guess.

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs -- we started with looking at the weight shift against the boards, then went to looking at the Moves pattern. I realized that if I thought more about the inside foot step as stepping and moving my weight, I get a much better step and I can sit back on it a bit more. Yay for new insights! I need to work these a ton, still, but this new approach really helped me get them less scratchy. I still need to sit back on them more though.
  • Back perimeter crossovers -- I'd seen these before but I remembered the pattern wrong. The weight shift is supposed to come on the minor axis (i.e. when you are facing toward or away from the boards), for a quarter circle, then the crossover. So really they keep you moving becausse it's 1/4 circle weight shift, 1/4 circle BXO, on and on and on. I need to work these too.
  • FI3s -- despite my vow from last week not to be so self-deprecating, I decided it's okay on those (now few) moves that Sonya hasn't seen yet to warn her they are stinky. And they were. On the dread LFI3 Sonya told me to keep the free foot crossed behind me to help me get around, and to try to turn more into the circle (better rotation). I did manage one where I didn't put my foot down -- they are so scary and "whirly" for lack of a better word. I've really not worked on these as much as I should, so -- no more slacking!
  • Half Flip intro -- as promised, Sonya broke this out for me. The first part is similar at first to the Salchow entrance, i.e. LFO edge, LFO3 with extended leg and hold the edge. From there, pick in and draw. After looking at just that, we practiced just the draw. It's tricky to draw and keep your knees bent! The ankle of the picked foot really has to stay forward to keep from dropping off the pick. After that we looked briefly at the second part (when your feet are together after the draw), which is just a half-rotation jump. We'll come back to that later. After the jump it's land on the L toepick and push out onto the R foot. Sonya wants me to work on the pieces and we'll come back to it.
All in all a pretty good lesson, with some hard work (LFI3s, eeep!). Sonya will be gone next week, so no lesson for me.

I was smiling toward the end of my lesson as I looked around me. I was the only male on the ice all morning, and between that and the usual teen queen stuff on the CD player I thought I'd better watch out or my estrogen levels will rise by osmosis! :-)

After my skate I drove to work. The route from Shiny Rink to my work is about 19 miles through a very rural area. It's a very pretty drive, especially at that time of day. It's kind of relaxing and helps to make the transition from skating to work.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006


I skated for 90 minutes at the morning public at Valley. Worked on back edges -- BO, I'm still struggling to keep that darn free foot in front. I also noticed that I really need to work on being sure to start the new edge perpendicular to the axis, and not at a diagonal. The BI edges are definitely improving on keeping the free foot in front.

FXOs are improvingly very slowly, BXOs not much improvement at all. Waltz-8s have come a long way -- timing is much improved. Of course I still need to work on keeping the free foot in front there too, it's a common problem.

Did some waltz jumps and some spins, too. All in all, a good skate.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I skated the evening public at Valley tonight. It was good workout. I spent a lot of time on FXOs, working to hold the crossed position. I also spent quality time on my back edges; I am able to keep the free foot in front on left foot now (usually), so that's real progress. However, now that I am getting a better pushoff on the BO edges I sometimes get "stuck" and can't rotate. I'm not sure why; I might be breaking at the waist a little. I also worked on BXOs, 3s (especially inside 3s) and Russian stroking. Worked on waltz-8, and it's really looking a lot better. Still need to work on keeping the darn free foot in front on the back edge, but even that is getting better. Finally, I spent some time on waltz jumps, working on the stuff from my lesson -- arm position and jump setup mostly. Some small progress there.

It was a really nice session, there were only two of us for most of the session. For 20 minutes or so a youngish (I'd guess 16 or 17) skater joined us. She said she'd not skated in a while, but she had some very nice single jumps and a nice Axel-loop combo. Ah, youth! To be able to skate like that after being off the ice for "a while"!