Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


This morning's PSS was in the middle of a snowstorm! Well, there was heavy snow falling in Beaverton when I was driving at 5:30 a.m.... no snow at the rink.

A good skate this morning; worked the LFI3s and they are slightly improved. Made some good progress on my bad side FXOs, hopefully I will keep that progress! Worked the half flip a bit, some spins, a smidge of the APB 3-turn pattern... I get going kind of fast after the 2nd lobe or so and it scares me. Sheesh. Did one waltz jump, which had a really bad entrance but nice spring so I was happy. Generally, just a good solid practice. Apparently it was Molly's birthday because they decided to de-skate her in the middle of the ice... it was pretty funny seeing her walk off the ice in bare feet (well, tights). Ice is cold! :-)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bonus Skate

I had a little time this morning so I skated at Valley on the public session. There were about 6 skaters most of the time, all adults. Several of them were doing dance, and one was working on basic figures (!). I had an okay skate. My spins have not improved but my LFI3 isn't worse, at least. I worked a little bit on the FO and FI figures since the circles were already there. I can just barely get around the circle on one push! *sigh*

I'm feeling very drawn to working on figures. I don't know if it's out of frustration, or a genuine feeling that it will help my edges. Most of the difficulties I face right now (except w/spins) seem to be due to poor edges.

Congrats 3Turn!

Congratulations to 3Turn for passing her APB Moves test yesterday! Way to go!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Good Luck 3Turn!

3Turn is taking her Adult Pre-Bronze Moves test tomorrow morning. Good luck!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Today's lesson:
  • LFI3 -- We're still plugging away at this, but it is definitely improving. In part that's probably because I am being a bit more diligent about working them in practice. Anyway I'm able to hold the entrance edge a bit longer and have some kind of exit, but they are quite scrapy still. Sonya told me I don't need to come out of the turn with my left hand back so far; I can be more square. This seemed to help me not over-rotate the turn and settle back on the edge.
  • Spins -- Quite a bit of time on these. Some small improvement on the spin itself, then Sonya wanted to go ahead and work it from the BXO entrance. As I expected, it's really hard for me to set a good LFO edge from the step forward. Sonya also told me she wants me to practice the push-out exit every time -- no more getting away with not doing a pretty exit, no matter how bad the spin. After this we worked a bit on holding the RBI edge as it would be before the step forward (and also for crossovers), and that led into working on holding the LBO and RBO landing positions.
  • Half flip -- I figured Sonya would want to look at jumps today, and I was right. I've worked these but I wasn't happy with my progress. Sonya told me that I need to start thinking about jumping right after I pick in (while the L foot is drawing in). After some work, I did what I'd consider my first *real* half flip... it was good! So we moved on...
  • Salchow -- I still don't know when to jump on this thing, and I've also realized part of my problem is that it's a lot harder than I think to get the R leg to swoosh around and in -- I'm fighting the force of the edge and it's harder than one would think. Still struggling.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


This morning's PSS was a pretty good skate. The session was less crowded than it's been in the past, only 8 or 9 skaters I think. I spent some more quality time on the FI3-FO3 pattern (despite being a little freaked by the people around), back edges, FXOs, BXOs, LFI3 and spins. No great breakthroughs but a good solid skate.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Wow, what a difference between yesterday and today! I skated the 8:15 FS this morning, and had a skater's paradise -- fresh ice and just me to skate on it! I took advantage of the good conditions and worked the APB FI3-FO3 pattern and back Russian stroking pretty extensively. After a few false starts I managed to do an entire side of each, more than once! They are pretty ragged though. Also worked FXOs, BXOs, waltz-8, half flips, edges, and finished up with some time on spins. Spins are slowly improving. My biggest challenges right now are getting the free leg in and keeping it there and getting more on the sweet spot. It's pretty hit-or-miss right now.

All in all, a great skate and I felt much better than yesterday. Whee!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Holiday Zoo

I skated a little bit of the afternoon public today. It was President's Day, and while it was nice to have the day, obviously the schools did too. The session was very crowded and the ice was dreadful. I only stayed a half an hour, that was all I could take.

I was really kicking myself for not getting up early and skating the 8:15 FS as I intended. I would be making so much more progress if I just got a bit more quality skating time in. Gaaah.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- in the Moves pattern. I wasn't happy with the bad side, but it was better than it's been. My extension was horrible, though, and Sonya reminded me I really need to push the stroke all the way out.
  • BXOs -- in the Moves pattern, of course. Sonya says these have improved a lot since I started with her; but they are still quite scratchy. I'm having issues getting turned into the new circle when I'm crossing -- I can't get my hip back. Sonya told me that when I rotate the arms for the new circle I need to think of really pulling the shoulder back, and looking over my hand and keeping the chin up. I tend to drop the chin (even though I'm looking over the hand, more or less) -- it really helps to keep it up. Still, these are improving.
  • Forward 3-turn pattern -- We spent some good time on these. We looked at how to get into them, and I decided to start from the crease, have 3 strokes into an RFI swing roll, and then start with the LFI3 side -- Sonya felt it would be best to start with the more difficult side, and I agree. On the RFI3-LFO3, we worked through them trying to get the placement of the turns better. On the lobe with the turns I should be placing the turns at 10 and 2 (if it were a clock). As in my practice yesterday, after I do one lobe of turns the back lobe tends to be a bit surprising/awkward/confusing. Sonya told me that I really need to keep going when I have a problem or make a mistake -- I have a habit (I know others struggle with this too) when I make a mistake of stopping and restarting, or stopping to think. Obviously the test isn't like that, nor is competition -- I need to just keep on going. As it is, my body gets used to stopping and so I don't get the feel for what it feels like to do a complete set, what the cadence is like. These are coming along, but of course the LFI3 is still holding me back.
  • Spins -- We had about 10 minutes left, so I asked to look at these. They are continuing to improve. Sonya reminded me to feel like I'm pulling my L shoulder back, and also to really bring the free foot in firmly. She also said I need to not bail out so quickly -- and of course she's right. I tried hanging with it a bit more and it did help a lot. I'm still going up on the toe but not quite as badly. I'm really happy with my progress on these and I think I am not too far from turning the corner on these. I need to keep working them. Of course right now we are just working them from a standing start. I've practiced the BXO entrance a lot, but not recently. Marrying that up with what I'm doing now might be a bit of a challenge.
As far as Moves are concerned, I mostly have to fix the LFI3 and get the 3-turn pattern down, and get my FXOs and BXOs a bit more solid. Once that's in place I think I can pass the test. Maybe in August? I'll have to ask Sonya about that at some point.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007


No PSS this week, as I explained last week. Instead, I skated the 8:15 FS. It was a pretty quiet session, just myself and 2 girls who left about half-way through. I worked on lots of stuff.... half flips (aggh, these stink right now), spins (unchanged), FXOs and BXOs (not much to report). Waltz-8 is about the same as before -- need to hold the back edge of the 3 longer, but placement of the 3 is almost right. LFI3s are about the same.

I spent some time on back Russian stroking (about the same), and power-3s and the APB MITF 3-turn pattern. On these last two, I can do about 2 sets of lobes and then I'm just a bit out of whack. Still, that's improvement.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Skate Update

After the 6 p.m. FS, Sonya and I went to the pro shop to pick out and get me fitted for new skates. We had to wait a while since Jim was working in the shop by himself tonight, but Sonya was very patient. Jim measured my feet, and carefully examined my old skates. After some consultation with Sonya, we decided the best match for where I'm at would be Riedell Silver Stars. Jim said that my old skates were definitely sized too wide and too big for me; my new skates will be size 9 Narrow -- if they are a little too narrow he can punch them out as needed, but this should take care of me having to torque those suckers down as I have in the past, not to mention the horrible heel sloshing I've had on the right foot.

Of course the pro shop doesn't keep men's boots in stock, and Jim says it's likely the factory won't have that size in stock either, in which case I might have to wait 4-5 weeks to get them in. He should be calling me Wed. or Thursday to let me know.

It's not clear if I will be able to keep my current blades (Coronation Comets, size 10 3/4) -- they may be too long for the boots. We'll find out when they come in.

I'm really psyched! I'm so grateful to Sonya for guiding me through this process, and I'm so excited that I will have skates that actually fit me and that I can feel really confident in. I'm sure it will help my skating enormously!


I skated the 6 p.m. FS; it was rather zoo-like (18 people) but okay. Did some good work on back edges -- I'm having an easier time getting & keeping the free foot in front on the first part of the lobe. Had a couple of spins that were actually worthwhile. Beyond that, pretty much the same old stuff. I'd been off the ice since last Wed. (was sick with the crud that was going around), so was just glad to get some time in and get my legs back.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Today's PSS was mostly a carbon copy of yesterday's skate, except I felt more motivated (in spite of the early hour!). Besides the stuff I reported yesterday, I really spent "quality time" with the LFI3 and it's getting a little more comfortable. I tried working it just from skating forward, not a standing start, and I think that helps because it's different. I also spent some time on the Salchow. I still don't get this jump. I need to work on it off-ice because the motion of bringing the free leg around and through just doesn't seem natural to me. Grrr.

No PSS (as such) next week since Mary has an early commitment for Valentine's Day. I'll probably still skate, but allow myself to sleep later (yay!).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I skated the 8:15 FS this morning. I had a pretty good skate. I worked on back Russian stroking but I'm still getting a bit confused (or not in the rhythm) with placement of the crossover. Hmmph. Worked on bad side cross and hold -- I'm focusing on trying to have a smooth placement of the crossing foot. Worked on spins a bit, trying to remember to bring the R arm/hand around; some small success. LFI3s are about where I left them -- I'm still feeling the turn in the foot, so that's positive, but there's still no flow out and they're very scratchy. Finally, did about 5 half-flips and they were pretty yucky. Sheesh.

I'd not skated since Thursday (took Superbowl Sunday off) and for not having been on the ice for a bit it was good. I'm having an easier time warming up even after being off the ice for 5 days, which seems a pretty positive thing to me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hitting The Hard Spots

Today's lesson:
  • Back edge stability -- wasn't sure what to call this one. I told Sonya I wanted to work on being able to hold that BO edge while turned into the circle and free foot in front. So.. we worked on it! It's hard. Sonya suggested I think of the push as a "flick" and to keep the free foot in front from the get-go, not let it get back and then have to move it in front. We worked this on the wall and on a hockey circle. She also suggested I keep my arms lower and, especially, not to drop the free hip. Unfortunately keeping the free hip up tends to make it hard for me to keep my skating knee bent (sigh). Still, we made some good progress and I have some ideas as to how to continue to work on this.
  • LFI3 -- having worked on that position, we went on to LFI3. We actually made some good progress, I was starting to feel an actual down-up-down on the turn and was able to do the turn without putting my free foot down. I'm very cynical about progress on this turn since I've been working on it for so long, but... this felt different. The key seemed to be in part to really feel the ball of the foot. It also helped to do the RFI3 right before and then try to remember that feeling and match it on the other side.
  • Back Russian stroking -- Sonya wanted to look at this (we'd not done so in a while). I forget how fun these are! Sonya reminded me to change the arms at the top of the lobe, to really straighten the non-weightbearing leg for the wide step, and to look where I'm going. She also wanted me to pull back even more on the widestep edge, to almost be twisting back to generate more power. I don't know, I can already generate some pretty good power as it is!
  • Spins -- just a couple of minutes on these, continuing some progress I made before. I actually had about 1.5 revs of a good spin (not centered, though)! The key seemed to be that I'm remembering most things (not being too forceful, setting a good edge etc.) but I'd gotten a little sloppy on bringing the R hand around and in. So once I did that I had some pretty good results! I'll have to keep working on this.
Sonya is on vacation next week, so no lesson. I feel like I have plenty to work on, anyway.

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