Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I skated the 5:15 PM FS today. As usual, it was pretty crowded, about 16 skaters and 4 or 5 coaches.

I started off working my FO8 (i.e. FO circle-8). I actually got around on one push once on each side! The secret is not so much a better push (though I still need one) as to keep a good solid position and keep a bit lower with more knee bend. I'll have to work on this more.

After that I worked a bunch on my bad side FXOs, forcing myself to cross and hold with no toepush. Eeep. This is still so scary. But, I made myself do it 12 or 14 times or something. I worked the better side too. I also worked on my BXOs, trying to un-scrape them. A bit of work on 3s and some waltz-8 at the end. It's only a 45-min session and the time does fly by...

Monday, April 28, 2008


Today's lesson was on the 7 a.m. FS as usual.

  • FXOs -- CCW FXOs are looking almost passable, although Sonya pointed out that I tend to shortchange the extension on the very last XO of the circle (consistently). So that should be easy to fix. CW FXOs...still getting some toepushing and lacking a good underpush, although they have improved. We spent a fair amount of time on these.
  • BXOs -- a lot of time on these. I need to sit back a lot more on these, and the back foot needs to push to the side, not back. I think my fear of the Click of Death is really holding me back on fixing these.
  • 3-turn pattern -- just about 3 minutes on these. Sonya continues to be more worried about the bad BXO in the back lobe. She reminded me that I need to take my time on these. I tend to get rushed on them and there's no reason for it.
We talked about my concerns about the ice at Valley and decided we'd be better off pushing to the Mt. View date 7/27 -- actually this will work a lot better for me since the 6/15 date is 5 days before I leave on my Europe trip. We're going to try to get a critique/evaluation with a judge the first week of June.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Field Trip

Since there's an ISI competition at Shiny Rink today I went to Valley (a.k.a. "not-so-shiny rink") to skate. I skated for an hour at the public session. It was really not very crowded at all, and the ice was not too bad.

I was feeling very lackluster and unenergetic. I don't know if it's me in general or something about that building, but it seems like it sucks the life out of me. I did do some good work on my FXOs (bad side is really improving, finally), some waltz-8 and back edges and miscellaneous turns etc.

I was planning on testing at this rink in 6 weeks but now I'm not so sure. The ice is SO thick you can't see most of the markings at all! Seriously. I could more-or-less make out the red and blue hockey lines if I was close to them, and one of the hockey circles at the east end and the creases. But that was it. I'm not sure I want to test moves in that environment. On the other hand the judges won't have any reference points either... will have to talk to Sonya about it tomorrow.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shout Out To Lisa H!

I meant to give a shout-out some time ago to Lisa H's new blog, Portland Rink Report. Check it out!

As an aside, Lisa seems to be a very popular name for skaters! I think I know something like 5 Lisas that skate. Back in Tucson there is/was Lisa H, Lisa M, and Lisa Mc. Here I know Lisa H and Lisa Y. It's confusing!

Coffee Club

I finally got on the ice again today, I managed to escape to Coffee Club. I worked a bit on my circle-8s -- RFI is really stinky right now, others are improving. Waltz-8 is improving slowly; I can see how my figures work is starting to help me out here. FXOs are slightly better, and spent some quality time on BO and BI edges -- BI initial pushoff is still stinky. A nice skate and not too crowded.

Tomorrow I'm helping out at an ISI competition at Shiny Rink. Whee! :-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Salchow & Russian Stroking

Today's lesson was on the 7 a.m. FS as usual. It was very uncrowded, just 4 skaters and 2 coaches. In my warmup I made some good progress on cross & hold on the CW FXOs (bad side) but it's still very scary and I still tend to really clunk the crossing foot down.

Today's lesson:
  • Salchow -- Sonya has wanted to spend more time on jumps lately, so it was back to the Salchow again. We fixed holding the check after the 3-turn and getting some extension on the free leg. What seems to be missing is some smooth down-up-down knee action and the corresponding bringing-in of the free leg. Grrr. I just don't have a feel for how this is supposed to go, though I can see it in my mind's eye. Grrr.
  • Russian stroking -- a.k.a. forward perimeter crossovers. I wanted to work on these because when I worked on them last week they were kind of scary. It turns out I was placing the FXO too early on these -- Sonya says I should START the FXO right after the top of the lobe-- I was trying to place the FXO squarely at the top of the lobe. The other big correction was to hold the arms as they were from the FXO through until the start of the next FXO. It feels very unnatural to be holding that cross-body arm thing but it does make it more natural to move the arms and then start the new FXO. I need to do this more.
After the lesson we talked a bit about how I'm coming along and testing at Valley. It's June 15th, so about 8 weeks away. Lots to do, especially on cleanup on the crossovers. My biggest worry is the 3-turn pattern, still, though. Anyway Sonya reminded me that I need to start doing test runthroughs again. I've been very bad about that. I need to be more disciplined about this or it's just not going to happen. I also have to continue to work to get more ice time, which is always a challenge.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Zoo

I skated the last hour (really, the last 45 minutes) of the Sunday public session at Shiny Rink. It was average-crowded. I worked a lot on waltz-8, trying to place the 3 better. Some progress. Also 3s, FXOs and some BXOs and spins. I'm going up on my toepick on spins a lot. Grrr.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday (FS) Zoo

I actually woke up at 9 today feeling well-rested and refreshed! This doesn't happen on Saturdays very often :-). So I jumped out of bed, threw clothes on and dashed to the rink for the 9:50 FS session. It was a zoo! Like Tuesdays only maybe a little worse even -- at least it's an hour session. It might be because there's an ISI competition at the rink next week. There were like 16 skaters and 4 coaches on the ice.

Despite that I had a pretty good skate. Worked on smaller stuff since it was crowded -- LFI3 and the 3-turn pattern, FXOs, and 3s in general, also BI and BO edges (especially the pushoff). Also so worked that toe-loop practice on the boards, a spin and a half-flip.

After the session Shannon asked me if I could volunteer to help at the competition next week. I told her I thought I was free Sat. afternoon but I'll double check. I do think it's important to help out when you can -- skating is very much a volunteer sport, especially at the local level. Besides, Shannon asked very nicely :-).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

FI Circle-8

Today's figures lesson was on the 8:15 FS as usual. There were only 3 skaters and 3 coaches present, and for the last 15 minutes or so I had the place to myself!

Kelli and I started by talking about how to get precision in our traces. We don't use a scribe in our practice, but we do usually the end red line as a long axis. I've found that I'm actually pretty consistent in that my circles are usually about the same size from one side to another and also that they usually are fairly closely on top of each other. However since I'm not making it around on one push usually it's difficult to say. Still I'm pleased with my progress and so is Kelli. We talked about where to be looking at various points -- for example at the 3/4 mark I need to be looking for my axis mark, and also it would help if I can spot the trace from the other circle to try to make sure they are about the same size.

After that we worked on the FI circle-8. These are about like the FO ones we've worked on. Still have problems getting around the whole way. I have a lot more problems holding my position on the RFI side than the LFI side. It's getting better though.

After some repetition Kelli had me move to an arbitrary spot on the ice with no lines to cheat with. I eyeballed where I thought the crossing point for my long axis would be, marked my start and off I went. It was actually pretty good! I'm really pleased with this.

After my lesson I spent some time working on the waltz-8, specifically marking where the 3 should be and doing 5 on each side. The good news is that I'm getting better about placing them in the right place; but they are very, very scratchy and awkward right now. After the rink cleared out, I did one side of Russian stroking and a complete circuit of back Russian stroking. My forward Russian stroking is awkward and scary -- I need to work these with Sonya as they are scary in the same way that I felt in my program. I probably need to work on getting into the ice better.

All in all a good lesson and a good skate. No lesson next week as Kelli will be out.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I had considered not skating the 6 p.m. Tuesday FS session, but I found myself there again tonight. It just works with my schedule. Anyway, I had a MUCH better skate than the last couple of weeks. I worked a little on my circle-8, then some time on FO3 and FI3s, FXOs (mostly bad side), a few spins. A bunch of time practicing my toe loop prep against the boards. Nothing really exciting but I was pleased to get some practice in.

Monday, April 14, 2008

BI Edges & Toe Loop

Today's lesson was on the 7 a.m. FS as usual. Only 4 skaters on this session, at least when I bothered to count. Good ice. In my warmup I managed to improve my push so I was able to do each side of the circle-8 on one push (not consecutively, unfortunately). It's coming along.

Today's lesson:
  • BI edges -- I was working on these when the lesson started so we spent some time on them. Still trying to get that first lobe to go "out" more, and get a better push. I have a hard time pigeon-toeing enough to actually start on the BI edge; more often I'm on a BO edge and flip to BI. Grr.
  • Toe loop -- the majority of the lesson. We spent some time working on it against the boards and then doing walkthroughs out on the ice. This is coming slowly (very slowly, sigh).
I'm a little frustrated with my progress right now, but I think I have not been getting enough ice time in and really doing the work to make progress. That's starting to change so hopefully in a few weeks I will see some results. I hope so.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008


Figures lesson today with Kelli on the 8:15 FS. It was deserted, just myself and Allison and Kelli and Sonya. Nice ice! I'm almost reluctant to say so since it will probably get more crowded...

For today's lesson, Kelli had me show her my waltz-8. As I expected, the first order of business was fixing my 3-turns. I really don't know what's happened to these since I know they used to be better, but anyway... worked on skating for a while and really holding the position, then rotate the arms (skinny, of course), then turn-n-check. I'm having a lot of problems with the down-up-down on this. Kelli also pointed out that part of my issue is that my free leg is creeping forward on me and gets in the way of me turning. I think I've known that before but forgot.

Kelli also wants me to keep my hands a lot lower than I'm used to. It's probably a good idea since for one thing it might help me un-hunch my shoulders :-). It's a hard change to make though.

After the lesson I had really nice ice and lots of room, so I worked on FXOs and the back Russian stroking. Of course I also spent more time on 3s, and did a couple of spins as well.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another Eeyore Skate

Skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual, and as usual it was a zoo (16 skaters and 4 or 5 coaches). And like last week I was tired and uninspired and unmotivated. I am probably going to stop skating this session until the summer when it's less crowded. That means dragging my butt out of bed early yet another morning, but it's either that or lose the time. Grrr.

I did bump into Lauren briefly, hadn't seen her in a while. She said she has had some financial issues and had to cut back drastically on her skating. It's a shame! She's such a wonderful skater and person. *sigh* Also got to meet a new skater, a young man named Serafin. He's from the Phillippines and has some very nice doubles. I'd guess him to be early 20s but who knows (I'm such a bad judge of these things). He said he's testing Intermediate soon and has already tested Adult Gold.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Spins & More

Today's lesson on the 7 a.m. FS:
  • Spins -- I did a couple of fairly nice 1-rev spins in my warmup, and I showed the trace to Sonya. So we did a number of these. Sonya worked with me on getting the R arm around, and I was able to do this but of course that threw me off a bit. Biggest problem with these now is mostly to keep the free leg in and not bail out. More practice required!
  • RFI3 to landing position -- Sonya wanted to work on my landing position and what better way than doing an RFI3? :-) We worked on having my weight firmly over the R side and keeping a good check. The biggest single improvement is to keep a good head-up, back straight position -- that seemed to help a lot with everything. We did a couple waltz jumps too to look at the landing position, and then we worked on the LFI3 briefly to fix the same issues (lots more work needed on these).
  • BXOs -- to finish, I asked if we could look at my BXOs to work on de-scraping them. Sonya had me work to pause briefly with the front foot in line with the back. Eeep! This is hard, but it does force me to distribute my weight correctly. Lots more work needed on this.
All in all a great lesson and some good progress, but lots of work to do.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Spin Progress

I escaped to skate for an hour at coffee club today. I'm really pleased that I'm getting more ice time in lately. It's just what I need.

I worked on my back Russian stroking, and it's getting better. I more-or-less fixed my L side of these, so they are a lot better in that respect. They are still a little sloppy, I suspect, and I need to be both more relaxed and consistent on them -- especially the timing of shift arms THEN BXO. And of course the BXO is still scrapey and stinky.

I spent some time trying to get my BXOs less scrapey but not any real progress. The excitement for the day, though, was that I did not one but TWO really, really nice spins. BEST SPINS so far. About 1.5 revs, from the BXO windup. The best part was that they really felt like real spins to me, and the first rev was really nice and tight and it opened up from there (like a nautilus shell). I'm really psyched about it. I think I'm still not bring my R side in though. They are nice and centered at least.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I had my first (regular) figures lesson with Kelli this morning. We worked exclusively on the FO circle-8. The good news is that I was able to get all the way around at least once on each foot! Okay, just barely, but I did do it. The R foot is a lot harder to keep a good position than the L foot. We worked a lot on the push-off and keeping the foot close after the push. These things are NOT easy! I had a great time though.

Kelli said next week we'll look at waltz-8 some, gotta look at the FI circle-8 too.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Eeyore Skate

I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual tonight. It was pretty crowded -- even at the end of the session there were 14 skaters there, I think. Bleah.

I was kind of unmotivated, uninspired and tired. I realized after I got home that I've skated 5 days in a row, which I have not done in a long time, so that's probably part of it. Despite that I did get some good work on my FXOs, BXOs, a few not-so-bad spins and drilled my LFI3s.

I've decided that I'm going to start taking figures lessons from Kelli. We're still working out details. I'm planning on 20 minutes a week, I think that should be plenty to start and that's probably all my concentration (and budget) will stand for now. I had a figures lesson with her in July. Yay! Besides the possibility of competing next year, it has got to help my control and edges.