Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Today's lesson with Kelli was on the 8:15 FS, my last in this time slot until the fall *sigh*. You could tell school is out, since instead of the previous 2 - 4 skaters we had 9. Oh well!

We spent the entire lesson (okay, it's only a 20 minute lesson) working on FO3s, part of Sonya and Kelli (and my) campaign to hit all my weak points and keep hitting 'em. Our main emphasis was holding the entrance edge longer, getting better flow and rolling up to the toe a bit better. We made some progress on all these points, but alas no "a-ha" moments. I don't expect one on these, to be honest. I think I'll just have to keep making them stink less until the smell is not noticeable :-).

After the lesson I worked on BXOs and FXOs and some FO8s as well. I'm off the ice for a couple of weeks as I am off to Scotland and Ireland on choir tour :-). I'll be back on the ice 7/8.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

BXOs & 3s

Today's lesson was on the 6 p.m. FS:
  • BXOs -- I was the beneficiary of Sonya's time spent on airplanes this weekend, as she had time to think about how to break down BXOs differently for me. So, we started with doing a cross & hold (backward, of course) along the barrier. Then we went away from the barrier and she held my trailing hand and had me do a full cross and hold. Wow! What a difference this made! The observation for me was that I was thinking too much about my inside foot and not enough about my outside foot; also I need to feel like I'm putting my outside foot where the inside one was. We did a few with her holding my hand and then I tried some on my own -- not entirely successful but a lot better. We worked 'em on both sides and spent about half the lesson on them.
  • 3-turn pattern -- just a little time on these; I told Sonya I had been considering some different ways to get into the pattern and so we worked through a couple. I'm not sure what I want to do with this and we didn't come to a firm resolution.
  • FO3s -- after looking at these in the 3-turn pattern a little Sonya really wanted to work on them with me, and I did too. We worked on getting a better check (especially on the LFO3) and getting a better twist into the turn. Some progress.
I was really pleased with our progress on the BXOs; it gave me hope :-). I can't wait to get a chance to work on them some more and see if I can get that same feeling back.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Feel Free To Practice

I woke up this morning VERY tired (didn't sleep well) and as usual when I have an early lesson and don't feel like going, I turned on my phone and hoped for a cancellation text message from my coach. No such luck, so off I went to the rink. Half way there I got a message from Sonya that she needed to cancel (she was coming back from a competition in Kansas and her plane was delayed). So.. I guess I was meant to skate today because if I'd gotten that message at home I'd have slept in!

Had a pretty good skate -- just 5 skaters and one coach on the ice. Worked my waltz-8, 3s, FXOs and 3-turn pattern. I'm discovering that the reason the first lobe of the LFI3 side of the pattern is bad is that I'm not holding the exit edge of the 3 at all. Once I do it looks a lot better even though the 3 is still placed too early. Grr.

The title of this entry is from the text message I got the first time Sonya cancelled a lesson on me -- I found it amusing. I've been with her almost 2 years and I think she's cancelled a total of 3 times on me. She is SO professional and punctual. I really appreciate that about her (along with her many other fine qualities :-)).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Patch Blades & Sunday Non-Zoo

I only got to skate a little bit today as I was watching USFSA testing this morning. A big congrats to skate buddy Amy, who passed her APB Moves AND Freeskate! Good job Aims!

I got to the rink around 2:30 and picked up my newly-mounted old boots and Comet Test patch blades. I skated in them for about 10 minutes... eeeep! I fell twice :-). They are SO different. Of course it didn't help that a) I'd not skated since Wednesday and b) my old boots are just a bit too big for me. It's such a strange feeling. I could eventually glide on my L foot somewhat but I felt very unstable. Anyway, I will not deal with these until after I get back from my trip.

After that I put on my freestyle skates and skated for 45 minutes. They did an ice cut at 3 and the ice was beyoootiful. Plus, it was nice and sunny outside so it wasn't crowded at all... yay! I worked on my 3s and FXOs and BXOs and 3-turn pattern and generally enjoyed the conditions.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back Edge Workout

Today's lesson with Kelli was rescheduled from Thursday to today due to a conflict I had. It was on the 8:15 FS as usual.
  • FO8 -- since it is technically supposed to be a figures lesson I always at least start with one. Like last lesson I managed to do a pretty good FO8, 3 times around on each foot! I am beginning to think it's something about that end of the rink (closest to the lobby) because I can't seem to get around on one push on the other end no matter how hard I try...
  • Edges -- Kelli wanted to see these since Sonya had talked to her about it. She was happy with the FO and FI edges, though she'd like a stronger push. BO edges, same feedback as Sonya -- need to keep free foot in front. Kelli had me try skating them without extending the free leg back on the last half of the lobe -- very hard, and I got up on my toe too much.
  • Back mohawk -- a.k.a step forward. We spent most of the lesson working on improving the step forward since it's a problem for me. A little bit of progress. Kelli told me to keep my hands lower so my shoulder won't block me and to work harder at (duh!) looking where I'm going.
  • BI edges -- just a couple of minutes on this at the end. Kelli's relatively happy with them although the lobes could be deeper.
All in all a good lesson. After my lesson I was practicing (along with another skater) when (at 9:06) a horde of school kids in rental skates invaded the session! Arrrgggh! There was no way I was going to get anything done with them on the ice (there were 50+ of them) so I stalked off the ice and complained at the desk. They were apologetic and said they hadn't realized what time it was and that the FS session wasn't over yet. Lame. I was really upset and it really put a crimp in my day. Yes, it was only 9 minutes but when was the last time they let someone skate 9 minutes for free at a FS session? Maybe I should point this out to them next week. Grrr.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. Had a reasonable skate. I worked on FXOs, BXOs, a bit on my step forward (back mohawk) and some on my back edges. I also experimented with a different start to the 3-turn pattern -- basically skating a back lobe into it. This does have the effect of making the first lobe like the other lobes (which is good) but I need to make sure it's legal as far as number of steps etc. I'll talk with Sonya about it Monday.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Moves Runthrough

Today's lesson was on the 7 a.m. FS as usual (this will change in July). For today's lesson, Sonya asked me if I wanted to do a Moves runthrough. I told her "no" and she told me that was great, we were going to do a Moves runthrough :-). So we did...
  • Stroking -- reasonably okay. Sonya would like me to develop a little more power (push harder). I was happy because I actually did almost-okay end crossovers.
  • Edges -- FO & FI edges look pretty good. Back edges still could stand some improvement, especially the BI pushoff.
  • FXOs -- these are very, very slow... excruciatingly slow. But they have pretty good form. I even remembered to do the transition between circles correctly. So the main thing that needs improvement is more flow and power.
  • BXOs -- bleah. The good side (CW) needs more improvement and the bad side needs a lot of improvment. Very scratchy :-(.
  • Waltz-8 -- about the same. 3s are placed too soon and step forward is too much out and not enough around, especially on the L side.
  • 3-turn pattern -- bleah. The LFI3 side was pretty bad. The RFI3 side was better of course but still not good. On the LFI3 side the first lobe is really bad, the ones after that are better. The back lobe needs a lot of work, especially the BXO. Bleah
All in all... no surprises for me since I work this stuff all the time, but Sonya hadn't seen a runthrough in a long time. We're going to try to focus our efforts. I will be out of town for 2 weeks at the end of June and first week of July, so that is not horribly helpful but it can't be helped.

Sonya signed my test form and it's going in the mail today. The test is July 27th at Shiny Rink+.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Short Skate

I went to Shiny Rink to skate the afternoon public as usual, thinking that with the bright sunshine outside the rink should be uncrowded. It was uncrowded, but unfortunately the Olympia (Zamboni clone) was not working so the ice was horrible. I stayed for half an hour but the ice sucked all the energy out of me so I left.

My patch blades (Comet Test) came in on Thursday, so I dropped them off with my old boots to be mounted. Not sure when I will get them back yet.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

3-Turn Pattern & BXOs

Today's lesson with Sonya was a "bonus" lesson since we didn't get a full lesson last week. It was on the 8:15 FS right after my lesson with Kelli. Today's lesson:
  • 3-turn pattern -- We spent 20 or more minutes on this. Ironically enough the FI3s are not really the problem here. The main issues seem to be the step forward after the FI3 and then the 3 turn. As I told Sonya, this pattern exposes my 3 biggest weaknesses right now -- 1) step forward, 2) BXOs and 3) FO3. So there's plenty to work on with this pattern. We worked on holding the exit edge of the FI3 longer and trying not to flail so much on the FO3. We didn't work on the back lobe so much this time (for once!). I've also noticed that on my bad side I tend to hold my hands and arms too high and also I'm helicoptering my arms instead of rotating skinny. All in all we made some good progress and I'm feeling much better about it. A lot of work still to be done, of course.
  • BXOs -- more work on these, but not much work. I think next week we'll go back to having Sonya hold my hand since at least that helped me get the right feeling for it. We also worked them against the wall some more.
I told Sonya that I'd give her the application for the July 27th test date next week.

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FO8s & 3s

I had my figures lesson this morning with Kelli on the 8:15 FS. Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- I wanted to just look at this briefly, hadn't done any in my warmup. POOF! I reel off a really great pattern, 3 times around on each foot. Woo-HOO!!!! That's the best I have ever done, and by a HUGE margin. First of all, I actually got around on one push, not once but 6 times total! And they were pretty good. Kelli spent some time looking at them -- separation on the traces was almost always less than a blade length total. Her only real feedback is that I am sometimes on a flat, so I need to work on improving my edges still. I was just so amazed and happy! So we left 'em and went on :-).
  • 3-Turns -- Sonya had asked Kelli to work on these with me and I wanted to as well. We worked a fair amount on skating a half-circle and then turning. I'm still tending to get too stiff and I get "stuck". Frustrating.
I was really, really happy with my progress on the FO8. I ordered a pair of Comet Test blades last week, hopefully they will arrive today or tomorrow.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I skated the 6 p.m. FS tonight as usual. It was even more crowded than usual -- I counted 17 skaters and 5 coaches. Eeep!

I had a pretty good skate. Worked on FXOs, BXOs, and a lot of time on back edges, especially the pushoff. BO edges have really come a long way, BI edges still need work on the pushoff and lobes tend to be a bit shallow.

Monday, June 02, 2008

XOs, Still

Today's lesson was on the 7 a.m. FS as usual. There were only 4 skaters (and 3 coaches), so great conditions and beautiful ice.

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- I just had some quick questions on the test pattern -- I keep confusing myself as to which foot I'm supposed to be on for the transition between circles. Sonya reminded me that I'm suppossed to be doing "two circles, not an infinity symbol!" (She's said this before and I'm well aware of it) So, I need to not hug the hockey circle so tight for the last part of the circle, but come to the center more so I push onto a flat or shallow edge on the R foot (coming from the R side) or L foot from the L side, *then* push into the new circle. She said now that I'm getting a real underpush on both sides, my form is good. Of course I need more flow and a bit more speed would help, but that will come with more practice.
  • BXOs -- I told her my concerns about this, and she agrees that these are probably the biggest source of concern right now for the test. We talked about them a bit and then she held my trailing hand while I worked on them. This helped a lot, actually. Usually I'm pretty reluctant about hand-holding but when I'm feeling stuck I'll try anything :-). Anyway I managed a few with her help and while I'm still not doing them on my own I have a better idea of what it should feel like and what I need to do.
  • Spins -- finished up with 5 min. on these. Sonya cracks me up sometimes! My windup and entry is looking really good, but she wanted me to hold my arms out more on the beginning of the spin and then bring them together. So I did this, and she asked for "a smidge more". I tried it again. Then she wanted me to bend the knee more on the step forward. I asked her if she got her smidge, and she said yes, but she wants TWO SCOOPS of ice cream! So I did it again ( a little better) and asked her if she now wanted hot fudge and a cherry. I think she said she'd rather have marshmellow topping :-). Anyway it was a lot of fun and it is coming along slowly. I told her after this test I'm not going to want to look at moves for a month!
We have another lesson on Thursday (after my lesson with Kelli) -- it will be a tiring morning. Also there's some confusion about when the new rink schedule starts so she's hoping they will get it straightened out and let me know.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Field Trip #2

I skated the a.m. public session at Valley today with Amy. I wanted to drag her over there because she's testing there in 2 weeks and I figured she could use the encouragement and company. As it happened Lauren was also there so it was a fun skate. There was hockey immediately before and
so they did both an ice cut and a run with the edger. I'm glad for the ice maintenance but it cut the session down by a half hour. Oh well!

Other than the time I spent working with Amy I worked on pretty much the same stuff as yesterday. I'm really worried about my BXOs; I don't feel like I have any kind of clear path to fixing them. I'm sure we'll talk about it in my lesson tomorrow.