Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Today's PSS... hmmph. A bit crowded, though it cleared out a little at 6:30. I spent a goodly amount of time working the bad side cross & hold, it's very slowly improving. Also a lot of time on BO edges, just skating a BO edge and trying to hold while turned into the circle and free foot in front. This is so hard for me! It's very frustrating. I was working on the LFI3 and then decided that I needed to work on the root of the problem, i.e. that LBO edge. It amazes me that after 3.5 years of skating I still have trouble with this! It's discouraging. I'm going to ask Sonya to work with me on it tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I skated the 6 p.m. FS at Shiny Rink this evening. What a zoo! There were something like 18 people on the ice, plus 8 coaches! Sheesh. I had an okay skate, spent some time working on outside mohawks, LFI3, FXOs, spins, stuff I could do in a small space :-).

No skates for me yet! As it turns out the guy who does the fitting is out of town this week; and Sonya is gone next week on vacation, so... two weeks I'll have to wait. Aaarrgghh!

In other news, though, my new iPod Shuffle came in finally. Whee! It's SO small. It should be great for skating, I'm really looking forward to using it!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Eeyore Skate

I skated the Sunday Zoo (er, public session) at Shiny Rink. It was somewhat crowded, but doable. However, I was incredibly unmotivated and felt very blah. I did do a lot of work on my outside mohawks, as well as bad side cross and hold, FXOs and BXOs in general, and some waltz jumps. The only person there I knew was Christina, so we yakked quite a bit and she gave me some feedback on my waltz jump and outside mohawks, and I critiqued her spins and double loop. I also introduced her to the word "wonky" as in "I had good spring on the waltz jump but the landing was wonky." She was amused by this and pronounced it her new favorite word :-).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dutch Waltz

Today's lesson:
  • Dutch Waltz -- we worked on the Dutch Waltz for about half the lesson. We spent a good chunk of that working on doing real progressives, instead of funky quasi-crossovers. These went better than I'd expected. I'm dreadfully slow and my timing is horrible, but at least I should be able to get through it. My swing rolls need more swing, too.
  • Misc. dance stuff -- we also spent some time working on chassés, slide chassés, and some other stuff that appears in the Canasta Tango. I can do most of this stuff but it's not very dance-y.
  • LFI3 -- no, of course we didn't forget these! I'm holding the entrance edge longer; Sonya suggested I really think about bending the knee during the entrance edge, so it gives me something else to think about rather than the turn :-). A little better.
  • FXOs -- we just worked the bad side a little. After an initial desertion (wow, was that annoying!), I was able to demonstrate my progress. Sonya was pleased and said these have improved a lot (and they have). I just need to work on them a lot to get them more comfy.
After my lesson, Sonya took a look at my boots. We arranged for her to meet me Tuesday after the freestyle (she has a meeting to go to first though) at the pro shop for fitting and boot selection etc. At this point it's looking like Riedell Gold Stars, probably. Hopefully I can keep my current blades (Coronation Comet) -- they are only 9 months old or so. I'm really psyched; I bought my current boots in June '03 and although they still have some life in them, I've never been happy with the fit on them, so some boots that really fit will be exciting!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007


This morning's PSS was a really good skate! First, my bad side FXO progress is still there (yay!); I worked on them a fair amount and it's starting to solidify. I'm really stoked about this since I guess I was scared I'd never get these down, and now it looks doable.

I also worked on my outside mohawks (I'd not really spent time on these since I learned 'em). They are improving, but I have a hard time holding the BO edge afterward, I tend to flop to a BI. Grr. Also worked spins (ehh), edges, half flip, 3s, etc. I felt pretty good about most things, though the LFI3 is still about where it's been, grrr.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I skated the 8:15 FS this morning. It was a great session; only one other skater plus Sonya, for the first half, and then just me for the second half.

I spent some serious time on spins but I'm still doing the corkscrew up-on-the-toe thing. Did a great waltz-8 pattern; this has really improved. If I could just hold the exit edge from the 3 a little longer it might be passable! Some quality time on back edges; these are getting better and more solid. Did some toe-loop prep and a few half-flips, and some time on power-3 -- I'm getting the step forward now but still can't make myself hold the FO edge longer before the turn. On the other hand, I'm working on the R foot (weak side) so that's good. Finally and most exciting for me, I made some really solid progress on my bad-side FXOs! I have been struggling for about forever to get a good cross & hold on that side, but I finally got it today. Hopefully it will still be there tomorrow :-)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Prep Galore

Today's lesson was on the 8:15 FS as usual. With the heavy (for Portland) snow we'd had Tuesday a.m., I'd not gotten to skate since last Sunday so feeling a bit rusty. The session was more crowded than usual, about 3 other skaters plus a high-level pairs team that showed up part way into the session. They were distracting in two senses -- 1) trying to avoid collisions or getting in their way, and 2) I love pairs skating, and it's tempting to watch. Still, I had a lot of stuff of my own to work on.

Today's lesson:
  • LFI3 -- Still plugging away. Some small progress. I swear, I work on these every time I skate, but not for long enough, obviously.
  • RFI3 -- Sonya wanted to look at these briefly. They're much better than the other side.
  • Toe loop prep -- we worked these against the wall. I've not done nearly enough work on my own on this (there always seems to be 12 bazillion things to do, and I'm very focused on basics still). We just worked through the prep she'd showed me before. It's getting more comfortable, so that's good. Tried a couple away from the ice, not much doing there. Sonya reminded me to have a straight leg (no bent knee!) before picking in, and that I have to let my feet cross (eep!) before jumping up. Scary!
  • Spins -- These are so, so close. I'm pretty much getting the body position okay, I'm just not finding the sweet spot. I'm always going up on my toepick. Gaaaah. Sonya suggested I try it much slower because she thinks I'm going to fast (or too forcefully) so that I rise up too fast and up on the toe. Grr.
  • Back 3 prep -- Sonya had mentioned these a while ago as a goal. We just tried skating backwards in a lobe and then doing a two-foot turn back to front. I need to practice these more too.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday public session at Shiny Rink, my first time in quite a while. Unfortunately I couldn't stay long, so only an hour or so. It was very crowded indeed, so other than a little work on the LFI3 (with kibitzing from Mary and Amy), I mostly hung out with Mary, Amy and Ciara, and teased Amy about her birthday (see below).

HBD Amy!

And a big Happy Birthday to Amy! May the year to come bring lots of good skating, fun lessons, and cool new moves!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Check Out Becca's Layback

My buddy Rebecca posted a video of her layback -- check it out, it's very cool!

Outside Mohawks

Today's lesson was complicated by an overnight dusting of snow, and some black ice that made the drive to the rink "interesting". At Sonya's request, we moved the lesson up to 7:30. Due to the weather the session wasn't too crowded, and at 7:30 it cleared out to just 3 of us.

Since we already had a lesson this week, we agreed to skip the LFI3s today. Yea!

Today's lesson:
  • Outside Mohawks -- I'd asked Sonya in my last lesson to teach me something new, since it seems I've been working the same old stuff for quite some time; so we decided on outside Mohawks. We worked them against the wall first, then on the hockey circle. They went a lot better than I expected (though of course they are very rough!). I need to have a better FO going into these, and I'm tending to bring the back foot too far forward. I think I can fix a lot of these by taking my time more.
  • BXOs -- these have improved a lot since the last time we looked at them. Sonya's 3 corrections were 1) Still need to push more from the middle of the blade (I think of pushing from the heel) and curl the ankle on the understroke; 2) need to pull the front shoulder back more, along the circle, and 3) need to look where I'm going (over the hand). I'm pleased that these have improved, but I want them better! If I concentrate and don't rush the tempo I know I can do them well. I need to be more consistent.
  • Power-3s/Back Russian stroking -- I mentioned to Sonya that I'd been looking at power-3s so we went and looked at them again, especially the back lobe. The step forward on the power-3s is a bit problematic. The back Russian stroking is a lot of fun and I'm starting to really get the hang of it. Sonya also showed me a drill that's just some BXOs and then turn circles with the weight on the outside foot (like the back lobe). Doing these I really felt my arms turned out of/along the circle. It was interesting.

After my lesson I asked Sonya what my biggest strength and weakness as a skater are right now, in hopes of getting better feedback on what I need to be addressing most. The answers surprised me somewhat. She said my strength is that I have good posture, and I usually go into things with the correct posture instead of having to make an adjustment. My biggest weakness, she said, is that my edges (especially my back edges) are still a bit weak, and this is holding me back. She's right, of course. My problems with LFI3, with FXOs, with Mohawks and step forward are all due to poor edges. I was surprised only because I expected an answer like "fear" or "timidity" or "lack of practice time". So... this is a good thing, since edges are something I can work on and fix. I have lots of edge drills I've been taught and there's no reason I can't spend more time on them.

We also talked a little about our lesson style; Sonya wanted to make sure I was happy with how we set our direction. We've developed a fairly collaborative style; sometimes I'll have a bunch (or some) specific things I'll want to work on, and other times Sonya will. I told her so long as we both make sure that I'm going in the right direction I think it's fine.

Sonya mentioned she'd like to go over the Dutch Waltz with me next week; she think it will help my edges and other stuff. It will be fun to revisit the DW and see how it goes now that I've made some progress.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007


This morning's PSS was preceded by a drive through a snowstorm! Before you get excited, it wasn't much of a snowstorm at that time, despite the doom and gloom of the meteorologists here.

I had a pretty good skate. The session got very crowded toward the end, I think I counted 16 or 18 people! I worked on bad side FXOs, Salchow, half flip, 3s, spins, and more. I spent some real quality time toward the end of the session working on power-3s. I originally learned the back lobe of this move incorrectly so I've been struggling to try to get it right, and to get the new step forward from the back lobe. It's coming along. These have actually gotten a lot better. Maybe we can look at them in my lesson tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More Jumps

Today's lesson was a makeup for last week since I had to cancel due to a last minute work trip. During my warmup I noticed that my BI edges are getting a lot better -- I'm focusing more on holding that shoulder back during the first half of the lobe and it's really helping a lot. I was really pleased. As usual, this session was almost deserted (myself, one of Sonya's other students, and another skater who came about 15 minutes before the end of the session). Good skating!

Today's lesson:
  • LFI3 -- We continue to plug away on these. The good news is that I can pretty reliably do one from a standing start, if I do it immediately. So we are working on holding the entrance edge longer. Some small progress, but we will be at this a while still (*sigh*).
  • Mohawks -- I asked Sonya to look at these since they have gotten sloppy. The LFI mohawk is actually not too bad -- Sonya wants me to bend my knees more in the middle of the turn though. The RFI needs a lot of work still but we were able to clean it up a bit. I just need to remember to make it an actual turn and not just hop onto my back foot!
  • Waltz jump -- just a few of these. My forward edge is getting a little longer, which helps my timing. Sonya worked with me to get a better kneebend on the forward edge, and then to get a better spring/rollup on the toepick. I did a couple that were really nice, so I was happy.
  • Salchow -- we worked these a bit. I can't seem to get the feel for bringing the free leg around/through. We worked them against the boards a bit at the end, and that did help a bit. Sonya scolded me that I need to work this stuff at least a little bit everytime I skate so I don't lose ground. Yes Ma'am!! :-)
After my lesson I talked to Sonya about my boots because I'm hoping to get new ones in a month or two (waiting for employee bonus to arrive!). She said that she'd like to see me in Riedells if I can go with stock boots, but if I need custom boots she'd prefer SP Teris or Harlicks. She said she'd go with me when I'm ready to get fitted and talk with them about my boots. Yea for having a good coach who'll do these things!

I have another lesson on Thursday, my regular one for the week.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Congrats Tracy!

Congratulations to Tracy for passing her Juv Moves and Adult Silver freeskate!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

PSS Eeyore Skate

I skated the 6 a.m. FS this morning, despite being weary from driving home from my vacation trip the evening before. Skate buddy Mary missed our PSS though, so I'll be sure to give her a hard time about sleeping in when I see her next week :-).

My tiredness and having been off the ice since last week, combined with a general bad attitude, resulted in a definite "Eeyore" skate though. I felt awkward and uncoordinated, even sluggish. Nevertheless, I spent time on 3s, FXOs, a little on BXOs, and some other move-y type stuff.