Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Vacation Update

I've been having a pretty good vacation. Saturday 4/21 I was at Fiesta Skate most of the day. There were a bunch of last-minute schedule changes so Novice Ladies wound up having their final round at 8:30 in the morning! Bizarre. Anyway, it was great to watch Katlynn McNab turn in a very convincing long program -- she won with a very commanding lead!

It was really nice to catch up with Tracy, Keila, Bri, Gail, Laurie, and of course the McNabs.

I'm down in Tucson now, and went to see the now-closed rink. Very sad :-(. I came across this article about the rink's closing that goes into a bit more detail.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hitting The Road

I'm off to Arizona today for a well-earned vacation. No skating, unfortunately -- the rink in Tucson is closed and I won't have any time while I'm in Phoenix. I will get to watch the Fiesta Skate finals on Saturday though, which should be great. Novice Ladies skater Katlynn McNab (who I sponsor) will be skating and should be awesome as always -- I heard she took first in her group yesterday and had a really good skate.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Today's lesson was all jumps, all the time:
  • Waltz jump -- I was working on these just before the lesson, so by the "your coach wants to look at whatever you were just doing" rule, we started with that. Sonya reminded me to really lift the hip and free leg on the landing position -- I was getting a little lazy I guess. She also worked with me on bringing my arms down and through in the takeoff. Some improvement.
  • Half flip -- Sonya says these are much improved. We worked a little trying to improve the mohawk beforehand, and to have a better pushout -- I was having problems getting in the "buns of steel" position, because with the new boots my weight often feels too far back and I couldn't get stable. Still, not too bad.
  • Salchow -- arrgh! This jump is my new nemesis. We worked on them for quite some time trying to get me the feel of the free leg coming around and through -- I just can't get it. It's not a mental block, though, so that's good, and I'm sure if we keep working it it will come eventually.
  • Toe loop -- the first one of these wasn't too bad, actually -- a bit cheated, of course, but not that bad. Unfortunately it went downhill from there. The turn and pick are fine, although I'm tending to pick a little too far to the side. I tend to not want to draw the R foot all the way back to the L foot though, and I have to fix that. Still, they are coming along and I was pretty happy with that.
The boots are getting better. The left boot hardly hurt at all today. The right... I re-laced once and that helped a bit, but still rather painful.

I'm off-ice for a a week and a half, traveling home on a visit. Since the rink in Tucson is closed (sigh) and I won't have much time in Phoenix, I'm not even bringing my skates.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Eeyore Skate

I skated the 7 a.m. FS this morning (I've decided to move to 7 a.m. from 6 a.m. since Mary's not joining me). Not too crowded (about 10 skaters), but by the middle of the session the ice was pretty beat up (there are 3 FS sessions from 5-8 and so by this last one it's a bit beat up).

Like the title says, an Eeyore skate. Bleah! I got my boots back and they moved the right blade in just a smidge. I didn't really notice much difference, but I just felt very off and uninspired and stiff. Yuck. Worked on waltz-8, half flip, waltz jumps, some work on edges and FXOs and a few spins.

I had my first fall in these boots. I'd like to be able to say I did it while doing something exciting, but the truth is that I hit a rut in the ice while going quite slowly, hit my toepick, and went down on hands and knees. Oh well! No harm done.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I skated the 8:15 FS this morning. The main accomplishment was being able to keep my skates on for the whole hour! I did relace my right boot once, though, after which it was much better. I keep forgetting that I really don't need to lace these boots as tightly as the old ones, they are plenty tight anyway.

I'm still working on getting used to these boots; it's getting better. I tried some waltz jumps and half flips today, and some spins. Nothing fancy.

I dropped off my skates afterward so that the pro shop can permanently mount my blades.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I skated for the first part of the public session at Valley tonight, just 45 minutes or so was all my feet could take. It is getting better but I suspect it is still going to take a while.

I'm having a hard time adjusting to these boots. I'm definitely thinking that my blades were seriously misaligned on my old boots, and now that they are correct... it's weird. I seem to get a lot more power out of each push, which is very disconcerting. I'm suspecting some things will be rather easier, which is nice. In the meantime though I feel very off. I guess I just need to keep skating and I'll get the feel of it, but it's hard. *bleah*

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Still Breaking In

Skated for about 45 minutes at the end of public session today. Still working on breaking in the new skates; after 15 minutes I had to rest for a bit. Finally Amy dragged me over to the pro shop and Jim nicely punched the left boot out where it was killing me, on the outside just behind the pinky toe joint. Wow! What a difference that made! Still very snug, and the big toe is feeling some pressure on the R foot, but it's bearable now. Yea!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Lisa's Still Famous!

So, the rink in Tucson has closed, but it went out with style and grace thanks to the hard work of Lisa Malecky and a cast of ... well dozens at least! I came across a report by KGUN9 on the web, check it out.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Waltz-8 And 3-Turn Pattern

Today's lesson was moved up from Thursday due to Sonya's schedule conflict. It was a good session, just 4 of us skaters. I only stayed for about 50 minutes since my skates hurt too much plus I had to be elsewhere.

Before the lesson proper, Sonya spent a little time looking at my blade alignment etc. Her verdict is that it's okay. If I really wanted to I could have them bring the R blade in a smidge, but it's probably not necessary. They feel fairly good but very painful still. My conclusion for now is that I'll try to get a few more hours in on them and see how they feel. I might need to get the R boot punched out a little bit just behind the pinky toe.

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- worked on these since I can. Still having issues with the step forward and holding the RBO edge before that. Grrr.
  • APB 3-Turn Pattern -- Sonya really wanted to look at this, despite my reluctance. They actually weren't that bad. Sonya says the back lobe on the bad side is looking better (the weight shift/BXO). I still need a lot more control though!

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Power & Grace

I picked up my new skates today. Wow, are they tight! I was IN PAIN! Seriously, I skated the 9:50 a.m. FS, and I had to relace 3 times and take a break 3 or 4 times. They really hurt! Still, I think it's getting better. They feel so weird though! Like my weight is really far back on the blade. I felt like I could barely skate! I didn't try anything more exciting than a 3-turn. Still, I was expecting it to be bad, and painful, and it was.

The pro shop here does something I'd never seen before -- they will burn (I think) something into the sole of your skates for you, words or whatever. For example, Amy has "Success" and "Desire". I thought about it for a while, from the humorous ("Help Me!" or "This End Down") to the mundane ("Gordon Zaft") before settling on something a bit more inspiring -- "Power" and "Grace". Thus, the pictures below.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tracy's Famous!

Congrats to Tracy for the great writeup in the ASU Insight newsletter! And to think "I knew her when..." :-)


I skated the 8:15 FS this morning. Nice ice (as usual, I'm spoiled that way), and only Matthew (adult male skater) and Lauren (awesome teenage skater) for company.

Worked hard on the toe loop again, also some time on waltz jump, half flip and salchow. Some work on LFI3 and APB 3-turn pattern, also back Russian stroking. FXOs, and some miscellaneous puttering around. No breakthroughs but a good solid skate.

After the session I dropped my skates off for the pro shop. This was my last skate in my old boots!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Last week's PSS, and this week's, were missing skate buddy Mary. Hopefully she will be able to return soon, otherwise I might get lazy!

A good skate this morning. After 6:30 the rink really cleared out to just two of us, which was nice. Some quality time on LFI3, various moves, and half flip. I tried doing two half flips in a row; tried it a couple of times. It's a bit tricky to keep the second mohawk relatively straight but seems like something I should work on for the control it will bring me. I worked a lot on various big moves like power-3, APB 3-turn pattern and back Russian stroking. The common denominator is problems on the back lobe of them when I'm skating the LBI; for some reason I have a lot of problems committing my weight to that side and straightening the 'free' leg.

I also spent a lot of time working on the toe loop. I can sort of do it against the boards, but out on the ice it's a different matter. I'll have to get back with Sonya on this next lesson.

Finished up with some work on the back pivot -- nothing doing here. Bleah!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tucson Rink Closing (Again)

So, it's official. The Star is reporting that the rink in Tucson is closing again. It's unclear how long it will be closed, or if or when it will reopen.

For all my Tucson homies -- I'm really sorry. This really stinks. I know the TFSC will do what it can to find ice time at TCC or whatever.


Toe Loop

Shiny Rink and the Sherwood FSC are hosting a John Nicks seminar today and tomorrow, so the FS schedule was a little altered. I wound up skating 7:45 - 8:45 today, with only about 6 skaters on the session.

Today's lesson:
  • LFI3 -- still plugging away on this, but I told Sonya that we'd continue to give it extra time until my trip at the end of April. We worked these from the line and then also on the hockey circle. These are coming along. Doing them on the hockey circle is harder but a lot more like the APB pattern I'll have to pass, and like "real life" (if skating is ever like real life!). I tend to rush these and when I do my upper body is usually not ready, so I need to just remember to take my time and set things up correctly.
  • APB 3-Turn pattern -- it was pretty natural to segue into these next. After some false starts we did a complete pattern, starting with the bad side (LFI3 - RFO3). I got just a little dizzy after the first side; Sonya says I'm looking down too much. Sonya always says to finish strong, and leaving the RFI3-LFO3 for the last certainly is that. I was really pleased just to have done the whole pattern! Now I really need to start practicing it that way all the time.
  • Toe Loop -- Sonya had wanted to work on these for a while now. She had given me some exercises to do at the wall for these, so we started off revisiting this and working them on the wall, then went on to work on the jump away from the wall. We made some really good progress! It seems a lot easier than the Salchow. I almost got one! I at least felt like I had a feeling for how the jump should feel and what the timing is like. I was really pleased with this.
  • BO pivot -- we finished with this; Sonya said practicing these would help with the takeoff for the toe loop. I can't quite get into this, I keep wanting to open the hip up. I'll have to keep at it.
I had newly-sharpened skates to work with, but it wasn't much of a hindrance. Only two more skates in these boots!

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