Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

FI Edges

Today's lesson was on the 6 p.m. FS as usual, our last in this timeslot. Next week figures lesson moves to 8:15 FS on Thursdays due to school being in session (6 p.m. FS becomes a zoo).

Today's lesson was more pounding on FI (mostly) edges. Between my workout this morning and not getting to skate on my patch blades on Sunday I was feeling pretty unsteady. Kelli wanted me to be like a "wet sponge" with my knee (I told her a more manly metaphor was a shock absorber, ha!). Some progress but my R foot was particularly uncooperative. Grrr.

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Monday, August 25, 2008


Today's lesson was the last in the 7 a.m. timeslot -- next lesson will be 7:30 as the rink goes back to the schooltime schedule.

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- touching base on these. They continue to slowly improve, getting a better underpush. Sonya followed me around the circle telling me to push harder and bend my knees more :-).
  • FO3s -- argh. Sonya wanted to work on these. They are not so great. Working on having more control, better setup. It's very frustrating to me that these are still this bad after 5 years of skating. Grrr.
  • Salchow -- the last half of the lesson. Not much progress, I'm still jumping too late and not bringing the R leg through like I need to.
I'm very frustrated with my lack of progress on the last two elements. The salchow... I just have no feel for how this should go. It occurred to me on the drive in to work that I might try the mohawk entrance again since part of my problem is that I feel off-balance after the 3 so it's hard to bring the R leg and arm through. I'll have to work on that.

No lesson next week due to Labor Day.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Zoo at Shiny Rink+

I was up in Vancouver today so skated the Sunday public at Shiny Rink+. Skate buddy Lisa met up with me. Conditions were good -- fresh ice and not too crowded at all.

Skated for 2 hours, worked on lots of stuff -- FXOs, BXOs, FI3s, waltz-8 (it's the scene of the "crime" :-(), half flip and waltz jump. No breakthroughs but some good skating.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Figures lesson with Kelli on the 6 p.m. FS as usual. I got to the rink early so I skated the last half hour of the 5:15 FS also, so by the time my lesson started I was pretty warmed up and feeling (relatively) comfortable with my patch blades.

We spent this lesson on the FO8. Not that I made it all the way around, not even once *sigh*. FO edges in these blades are really scary -- it makes me think I never was getting a good FO edge in my FS blades, actually. Lots of corrections on posture and weight placement and other stuff. Good progress, even if it does make me feel like a beginning skater again. It's coming. Kelli told me I may be making my circles too big and I should try to rein them in. I can always make them bigger later.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Spins & Salchow

Today's lesson was on the 6:30 a.m. FS as usual. Beautiful ice (we are SO spoiled here, really). The new lights were ALL on, and actually with all of them on it's not so bad as I feared. 5 skaters and just one coach.

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs -- Sonya wants to continue working on XOs (alternating weeks FXOs and BXOs) even though we are concentrating on FS right now. She's afraid we will lose the progress we made in the month or so before the test, I think. Anyway the CW ones (good side) are actually not too bad; at least, just a small scratch. The bad side ones are so different though. We did work them a bit and they did improve. Still working on sitting back on the heel more. It seems so ironic that Anna told me all this soooo long ago and I'm still trying to do it. Oh well!
  • spins -- still having issues with my step into the circle being strange. I think this is because I'm trying to slow down the entrance to try to get my technique better. Also having issues still with the R side not coming along for the ride, and remembering to bring my hands together. These are kind of stuck. I need to spend a lot more time practicing them, I think.
  • salchow -- hadn't looked at these in a while. We actually made some good progress. When I wait too long to jump (which is often), I go up on the toe, then off it and up on it again. So the key is to jump when I first go up on the toe, which is actually pretty much the right spot. I did one where I pretty much jumped at the right place. The rest of it wasn't so great but it was a big improvement. Unfortunately I didn't get any more like that, but we were almost out of time at that point.
All in all a good lesson. Now that I've had some time off I really need to start getting more ice time.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Zoo

Skated the Sunday public as usual. Not too crowded, but lots more people than last week! One z-break at 3 p.m. I spent an hour on FS blades and half an hour on my patch blades.

FS blades -- worked miscellaneous stuff. Did some really nice waltz jumps, for some reason I'm getting good flow on them. A couple of half flips -- okay but not getting the best position coming out. Spins, about the same, good flow but still bouncing off my toepick. I had told myself to try going into the spins slower to see if that would help but I don't think I executed well. Did some 2-foot spins as well, these are getting closer to being as good as they used to be. Worked on the RBO pivot but no real progress.

Patch blades --- eep. Basically managed to get back to being able to do all FO and FI edges. Tried some simple backward skating and a BO edge, I was skidding all over the place. Eeep!

Skate buddies Lisa and Amy were present today, it was nice to have some company. Hadn't seen Lisa since my test. She's working on counters and rockers.... eeep.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

FO Edges

This week's figures lesson was on the 6 p.m. FS as usual. We will be moving to Thursday mornings after Labor Day.

I noticed during my warmup that apparently the rink is swapping out their arena-style lights for what appear to be vanilla long-bulb fluorescent lights. They are about 1/3 done. While the light is a bit more even, there appears to be less light and the color temperature is cooler. It's annoying and distressing. Oh well :-(. I'm sure it's a cost-saving measure.

Since we spent our lesson last week working on FI edges we went to FO this week. Fortunately I had worked on these on Sunday a bit. Fortunately also I'm starting to get more comfortable on my patch blades; they aren't as scary but it's still a couple of minutes of whoa! every time I'm on them. FO edges are coming along nicely but I'm having issues with the RFO, it's hard for me to keep my L hip up. It got better though. Lots of progress!

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Back Edges & Spins

As usual, lesson at 7 a.m. Good ice, 6 skaters. Sonya was in a feisty mood.

Today's lesson:
  • RBO pivot -- I was complaining about how I'm still dragging my toepick on the BO edge leading into my waltz jump -- so we revisited these. I had neglected them, unfortunately. Anyway, some pretty good progress on them, they are almost there! It did illustrate to me that my edges are still not what they need to be.
  • Back edges -- from the pivot we looked at back edges some more, still looking at edge quality. Worked on really getting over my skate -- it seems bizarre to me that after all this time I still struggle with this! Oh well. Some improvement. I do still work my edges so that helped.
  • Spins -- we did a few 2-foot spins first; Sonya pointed out I was dropping my L shoulder. Once I fixed that it was a lot better. 1-foot spins.... I'm still tending to bounce off the toepick on these. I was doing some really strange things with my entrance, anyway -- not sure why that is. I think these would be a lot better if I would slow them down and relax more.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Non-Zoo

I skated the Sunday public session as usual, but it was very un-zoo-like. For the first hour or so there were only 8 - 12 skaters on the ice -- very nice! After that there were some hockey boys and it filled up a bit, but still very uncrowded. I assume it's from either summer vacations, the air show up in Hillsboro, or the Olympics on TV.

I spent an hour in my FS blades, worked a lot on jumps and spins. I'm still having issues not coming straight off my toepick on the waltz jump. The half flip is looking good (I did 5 or 6 just to be thorough). Some time on the toe loop but it's still not really happening. At best it's a very, very bad toe-waltz at this point. Spins... I did manage a 2-rev one foot spin, but the first circle was about 4 inches in diameter and the second, more like 14 inches. Bleah!

After that I changed into my patch blades and spent a half hour in them (that's all I could take!). I did get more comfortable in them and worked on FI edges and even some FO edges. Eeeep. Still, it's slowly improving.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

FI Edges

As usual, figures lesson with Kelli on the 6 p.m. FS. Like last time, I felt like Bambi on rollerskates in my patch blades. It did get better though...

We spent the whole lesson (yes, the whole lesson!) on FI edges. By the end of the lesson I was getting a much better push. It seems like I have to keep my weight more to the middle of the blade in these blades in order to feel like I have some control over where I'm going. Eeek. Much improvement, though, but I need to get some time in on the patch blades before my next lesson!

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Jumps & Spins

I'd not skated since last Tuesday (bad, bad Gordon!) so my warmup this morning was a bit interesting. I hate being off the ice more than a couple of days! The session this morning (6:30 - 7:30) was very quiet since there's a Kathy Casey seminar at the rink today and tomorrow; there were just 4 skaters and 2 coaches. Skate buddy Amy was having a lesson since she was off work, it was nice to see her there on a weekday :-).

Today's lesson:
  • waltz jump -- I asked Sonya to look at these first off since I'd noticed I am not jumping straight off the blade -- as Sonya termed it, I made a "7". So we worked a bit on bending the knee more, and she also suggested a bigger circle (straighter edge) going into the jump. That helped a lot, so we moved on.
  • half flip -- we were stroking around talking about something and I did a half flip so of course she had to make some corrections. The primary correction was to have the L hand over more (in front of the belly button, not in line with the L side of the body) before the jump. She had me go into a bit faster and that worked pretty well, which made me happy. I still can improve the height and the draw-through on this.
  • toe loop -- I had not looked at these in a lonnnnng time. We worked the pick & draw against the wall (she suggested I work on this "a lot" :-)) and then on the ice. To do the jump correctly (not a toe waltz) is just a big scary; I'm having a really hard time committing to bringing my feet together crossed. I came close once though! And my attempts are a lot better than they used to be, I think.
  • 1-foot spin -- I'd not worked on these in a while. The good news is that my windup is pretty good (okay, could use a bit softer knee) and I wasn't scared. I'm still tending to leave my R side behind in the spin and not really bringing my foot in very well. Lots of room for improvement here. Sonya suggested I consider getting a spinner to practice with; I'll give it some thought but the only place I can think of offhand that I could use it would be the gym at work since you have to put it on a hard surface, not carpet, and you need some room around it. Something to think about.
All in all a pretty good lesson. Sonya reminded me that I need to work my moves in my warmup etc., so that I won't have a lot of rework to do before I test again.

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