Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, October 29, 2007

Test Prep

Today's lesson on the 7 a.m. FS:
  • Waltz-8 -- as I found in my warmup this morning, I can make myself hold the entrance edge longer (good) but then the 3 is very forced. I'm still not getting myself fully rotated and I'm checking a little too soon and too forcefully. On the R side I'm not holding the exit of the 3 very well at all, either. The rest is not too bad.
  • BXOs -- these are still too scratchy; I'm not developing the underpush. Sonya had me work against the wall to try to get the feel of really getting that underpush and roll of the ankle. I am just not (waaait for it!) bending my knees enough to be able to get a good underpush.
  • 3-turn pattern -- The 3s were horrible. Sonya wants me to be more collected and forceful on the back lobe to make it bigger. Needs much more work.
After the lesson we talked about the upcoming test. The waltz-8 and 3-turn are not passable at this point (it's the 3s). The FXOs and BXOs are a bit marginal but are improving enough I think they'll be passable by test time. Sonya suggested (she's mentioned this before) that we can ask one of the local judges to come in and give me a critique. This could be in a couple of weeks. We went back and forth about some of the options we might choose. Depending on the critique results we could choose to test or not, even if they are not passable.

After my lesson I talked with Sonya briefly and was recollected enough to remember to do something I've been meaning to do for a while -- to thank her and praise her. She's really a great coach, and in the year+ that we've been working together I've come a long way (despite my whining). She's so professional and patient and upbeat and talented, I'm very blessed to have her as my coach.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Friends

I skated the Sunday Zoo (a.k.a. public session) at Shiny Rink. Actually, it wasn't too zoo-like. It was a beeeyootiful Indian summer day, warm and sunny (shocking, actually!) so the rink wasn't too busy.

I worked a lot on my 3s, trying to control the entrance edge and placement. I found that I had some success holding the entrance longer but then the 3 was pretty ukky. Still, at this point I really need to hold that edge so my plan is to just work on making the 3s better once they are placed better. Also worked FXOs and BXOs a bit.

I made some new friends today.... first, Lisa (she skates at Mountain View) was there to check out the ice in advance of Adult Sectionals in March. She's a beautiful skater. I introduced her to skate buddies Amy, Mary and Christine who were also there. Second, I made a couple of new "little skate buddies", Helen and Marta, who latched on to me and made me show them how to stop and skate backwards. I'd guess they are around 10 and quite the pair. Helen introduced me to her dad (not skating), he seemed nice enough.

Monday, October 22, 2007

3s & BO Pivot

Sonya had threatened me with a moves runthrough last week, but I think she was tired from Regionals, or maybe just wanted to let me fix stuff first.

Today's lesson:
  • 3s -- Sonya asked me what I wanted to work on, and I told her that of all the things that need fixing right now, the 3s are the one I'm most worried about (the other ones are in better shape and I'm making more progress onthem). So we worked on control into the 3. A number of issues that I've kind of known about but never really explored -- first, need a better edge going into these things. Too many times I'm going in on a flat and then wonder why it's so hard. Second is to really get the shoulders rotated; I've tended to not get that last inch or two of rotation that I need. Third is to keep the free hip up (goes with the first thing). So we actually did make some progress.
  • BO Pivot -- I had reminded Sonya that she had wanted to look at these so we spent a little time at the end on them. So basically for the RBO pivot it's skate an RBO in landing position, then rotate shoulders CCW and bring the free leg around and behind the skating leg and push down until it meets the ice. It needs a really good kneebend and nice deep RBO edge. Sonya was pleased with how quickly this came although I can't quite hold it yet.
It was a really nice session. Usually it's fairly crowded but with Regionals this week it looks like a lot of people took today off, so there were only 4 or 5 of us.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Regionals Road Trip

This weekend I went up to Seattle with skate buddy Mary to watch the last day of NW Pacific Regionals. The competition was at OlympicView Arena -- it's a pretty nice facility, although only a single sheet of ice.

There were a bunch of skaters from my home rink there. I didn't get to see all of them skate, but I did get to see Kelsey, Molly, Lauren, and Sam. I was really happy for Molly, she skated a great program and landed her axel! Kelsey and Sam had good skates in tough competition. Lauren got 2nd in her group and did a great job, she's so graceful and expressive.

While I was there I got reconnect with my old skate buddy Tate and his mom and dad, who I knew from my Tucson skating days. Kas (Tate's mom) was there when I was first learning to skate. Tate has grown quite a bit (he's 13 now, just moved up to Intermediate). Unfortunately I didn't get to see him skate -(.

I got to hang out with a couple of Mary's adult skating friends, Mike and Shelly, who are an adult silver (soon to be gold) pairs team. Sunday we all skated at Highland Arena. There were a lot of adults out there! It was very cool. Mike videotaped my waltz jump and one lobe of the 3-turn pattern (sorry, didn't get to keep 'em so I can't post). Alas, as others have reported, my waltz jump isn't nearly as high as I think it is :-(. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I skated the 6 p.m. FS tonight at Shiny Rink. It wasn't too crowded since Regionals are up in Seattle this week and many skaters (and my coach) are there.

Worked mostly BXOs and FXOs, a little bit on waltz-8. Bad side FXOs are slowwwllly getting better. BXOs, I still can't duplicate the nice ones I did in my lesson. *sigh*

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stops & Salchows

Today's lesson:
  • T-stop -- I asked Sonya if we could work on these as I've never felt confident about them when I have any kind of speed up, and I really didn't want to be doing snowplow stops on my test! So we started off from just one stroke, then 2, 3, 4, and up to 5. By the end I could do a nice solid stop. It's important to really get the weight on the back foot and especially not to let up (maybe even increase a bit) as I come to a stop.
  • Salchow -- I asked Sonya about using the mohawk entrance instead of the 3-turn, so we worked on them a bit. The mohawk definitely gives me a better check; if I use it I'll never have to worry about doing a "spin-cow." But it doesn't make me do this jump any better, I'm still struggling with it.
  • BXOs -- just some quick review at the end of the lesson. It's all about the weight shift. If I concentrate on a slower tempo and really getting my weight forward on my front foot I can do a nice, quiet BXO. I need to work these more and remember that.
At the beginning of the lesson we discussed doing a Moves runthrough but decided to postpone until next week... so I really need to work them this week! My great schemes for getting more ice time didn't get executed last week but it's a new week and a new opportunity.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

No Sk8ing 4 Condi

Some of you know that Condi Rice was a competitive skater in her youth. Sad to say, she apparently hasn't been on the ice in 10 years and lost her skates when she moved to Washington. Check it out... "Rice says no dice to ice." Hey, at least she got to meet Tatiana Tarasova!

Sunday Zoo

I skated for an hour at the public session at Shiny Rink today. I could have stayed longer but that's all I had patience for, it was quite crowded. Still it was good to be back on the ice since I'd not skated since Tuesday for a variety of stupid reasons. Skate buddies Mary and Amy were there too, which was nice. Worked on FXOs and BXOs mostly and played a little with the mohawk entrance to the salchow. I think I'm going to try that the next time we work on it in lesson.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I skated the 6 p.m. FS at Shiny Rink. It was pretty darn crowded -- Regionals are next week! Nothing exciting to report, worked back edges a lot, some work on toe loop and 3s. I did make a little progress on getting the free foot in front on the BI edges; they are looking better. That's about it though.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Toe Loop

Today's lesson was in our new timeslot, on the 7 a.m. FS (a work commitment required me to move my lesson). I was a bit sleepy and cranky. Lauren, bless her heart, gave me a big smile and said "you made it!".

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz jump -- Just a few to warm up with. Sonya reminded me I need to do a better "collect" so that I can bring my arms through better, and higher. Some progress.
  • Toe loop -- Sonya wanted to look at these. I think I'm making it harder than it really is. The pick and draw is really just the same as the half flip, but on the other side. The real key is crossing the feet, and that's the part that is freaking me out. We made a little progress, and I can work on it on my own.
  • BO edges -- Sonya wanted to work these to get the free foot in front. I'm still struggling with this. It's a lot better when I remember to keep the free hip up!
  • FXOs -- just the bad side, at my request. These are getting smoother (not clunking the crossing foot down) but I'm tending to place it on a flat (or even an outside edge) and then flip to the inside edge. Sheesh. They did improve though.
As usual, though I was pretty cranky at the outset (I am just not a morning person), by the end of the session I was feeling pretty awake and chipper.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Edges, Jumps, Pivots

Today's lesson:
  • Back edges -- at my request. BO edges, still trying to get the free foot in front on the outgoing part of the lobe. Keeping the free hip up helps a lot and helps the edge be more stable too. BI is looking better; Sonya wants me to really keep the body turned out of the circle (bring free hand in front of me) for the first part of the lobe.
  • Waltz jump -- just a couple. I would get more lift if I would just use my arms more.
  • Salchow -- still jumping waaaay too late. Need more knee bend too. I'm not getting the feel for this. I can visualize it and imagine what it needs to be but can't make it happen yet.
  • Pivots -- Sonya wanted to look at these. BI pivot... not too bad but a little unsteady. FI is pretty good. Sonya wants to look at BO pivots next week.

All in all a good lesson but I'm feeling a little frustrated right now with the Salchow. I can see myself doing it and I think I know what it's supposed to feel like but it's just not there. Grrrr!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I got out of work a bit early and skated the 5:15 FS at Shiny Rink. As usual, it was fairly crowded. I worked mostly on bad side FXOs, 3s and a few random things. I wasn't able to get back to where I was on my bad side FXOs on Thursday :-( although I got close. Since I was off the ice for too long I'll take what I can get I guess.