Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Field Trip

I took a trip over to Shiny Rink+ today to skate the afternoon public session. I will be testing at this rink in about 8 weeks (eeep) so I thought it would be good to check on the ice. It has been quite some time since I've skated there.

I got there around 2:15 and the ice was kinda icky, but they resurfaced at 2:30 and it was pretty nice after that actually. Not too crowded, either -- the sun was shining so I assume that's why. People here in the NW get really excited when the sun shines, they're not used to it :-).

Anyway, I worked on FXOs and a bunch on waltz-8 and 3-turn pattern and some other miscellaneous stuff. Got about an hour and 15 minutes in all told. It was a good skate.

Friday, May 30, 2008


I skated the last hour of the morning public session at Shiny Rink. It wasn't crowded at all, and skate buddy Amy was there with her scribe! I helped her lay out some circles.

I had a bit of an Eeyore skate, but I did work on FXOs and BXOs and some waltz-8 and 3-turn pattern as well. Once I'm done with this test I don't think I'm going to want to look at Moves for a while!

It looks like there will be a Figures test 6/15, a couple of skaters are taking the Preliminary test. I'm really looking forward to watching although it will probably be at crack of dawn! Still it will be good to see what the test environment is for this and how it works.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

XOs, Again

Today's lesson was with Sonya (Kelli is out this week) on the 8:15 FS, just a 15 minute lesson as Sonya had an appointment she had to go to. The ice was really astonishingly gorgeous (fresh) and I had it all to myself!

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- Sonya showed me a drill she'd like me to work on, a variation of a power drill, that consists of two pushes, cross & hold and two underpushes. Ukk. Can't do the two underpushes yet, and just doing the first two pushes gets me going a bit faster than I like. In other words, a good drill :-). She was very pleased with my progress on my bad side FXOs.
  • BXOs -- the remainder of the lesson. We worked on sitting back/down more and bending the knees more, also keeping the hip pulled back. I seem to have a very hard time bending that back knee for whatever reason. I feel pretty stuck on these, it's very frustrating.
After my lesson I worked a bunch of stuff. I worked on my FO8 and FI8 and actually got around the whole circle on each foot! The ice being so smooth helped a lot. I also worked more on my FXOs and BXOs and waltz-8. I also spent some time on the APB Moves 3-turn pattern, especially the LFI3 side since it's my bad side. I swear I must look like some kind of drunken sailor on these. The first lobe, especially, is bad. After that they improve, strangely enough. I have to figure out why that is. When I look at the tracings, the turns themselves actually aren't bad, though the placement is still pretty bad. I need to remember what Sonya's told me a million times -- I can take my time, especially on the back lobe.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual, and as usual it was fairly crowded. I'm pretty much used to it by now, it doesn't faze me much although I definitely am somewhat inhibited in what I choose to work on.

I mostly puttered around with my FXOs and BXOs. I was pleased to see that I definitely (cross fingers, knock wood) seem to have turned some kind of corner on my FXOs since I was able to get a good underpush on my bad side FXOs the very first time I tried one! Yea! BXOs... bleah. Still trying to de-scrape them and not having much luck. Grr.

Only a short lesson from Sonya this week due to a conflict she has -- we will get 15 minutes only. Kelli's Dad passed away last week (sigh) and so she is not teaching this week, as the funeral is Thursday. It's so sad! So next week we'll all be back in the saddle, I expect.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I skated for an hour at the public session at Shiny Rink this morning. It was uncrowded, maybe 6 kids, 4 adults and one figure skater (besides me!).

I'm happy to say that my progress on my bad side FXOs has stuck. I even tried doing them in the Moves pattern and was able to do them with an underpush on both sides -- yea! Of course they are very slow and deliberate but they are quality :-).

I worked some on waltz-8, BXOs and LFI3s including a little of the APB 3-turn pattern -- eep. The bad side of those (LFI3) seems to be scarier than it was before; I don't understand that. Grr.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I skated the Sunday afternoon public session. Since it's Memorial Day weekend it wasn't too crowded, although there were several 6 year olds with an amazing ability to teleport themselves into my way from (seemingly) across the rink. Grr.

I had a great skate! We actually had TWO ice cuts for the 3 hour session (I missed the first 45 minutes). Nice ice. I worked on waltz-8s quite a bit and managed to get my 3s moved out about 3 or 4 feet so they are almost in the right place! Then, I made some great progress on my underpush on the bad side FXOs. I got into some kind of groove on it so I just practiced and practiced them to build that muscle memory. Yea! Finally, I did some spins and had a couple that were substantially better than before, so I was pretty happy about that. I'm still having trouble holding my position and I'm tending to slip off the sweet spot, but it's getting better. All in all I was really pleased with my skate. Yea!

Friday, May 23, 2008


I managed to skate the last 45 minutes of the public session today. It wasn't too crowded. I worked FXOs, LFI3, and BXOs. On my BXOs it occurred to me that I should try going back to back 1/2 swizzle pumps around the circle, so I did a bunch of those. Sure enough, even on those I have a hard time sitting down/back and tend to get up on my toes. I'll have to work 'em some more and see if that helps fix things. Finished up with some waltz jumps that felt nice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. It was quite uncrowded today, only 6 skaters and one coach. I worked mostly on FXOs and BXOs, I am trying to get myself to "sit back/down" more on the BXOs. Not much success there. Also worked 3s a lot, on the wall and on the ice.

After my skate I got my skates sharpened -- I was a bit overdue!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Zoo

I skated the last 1.5 hours (well, with Z-break an hour and 15 minutes) of the public session at Shiny Rink today. It was very uncrowded due to the awesome weather outside... good skating conditions.

I worked a lot on 3s, both on the wall and on the hockey circle. Also FXOs, BXOs, and 3-turn pattern (do I sound like a broken record yet?). A good skate all in all.

No lessons this week as both Sonya and Kelli are out of town. I have a lot to work on though. I need to get my blades sharpened too.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I got to skate at coffee club today, for about 75 minutes. Had a pretty good skate. Worked on almost all my problem areas -- 3s, waltz-8, FXOs, BXOs (no spins or jumps). I felt pretty good, awake and alert and relaxed. After the session I came out of the rink and it was warm (we're having a heat wave) and sunny. It made me very homesick!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Push-off & 3s

Today's figures lesson was on the 8:15 FS as usual. I had the ice to myself! Yea!

We spent the first few minutes talking about the push-off and how to get better power (I was playing around with this on Sunday). I made some slight improvements.

The bulk of our lesson, as I asked, was on 3-turns. We worked on doing 2-foot turns on the middle circle, then moved to the boards to work on getting a better roll up to the toe (onto the rocker is maybe a better way to describe) and down again. I'm really tending to use my hip to force the turn waaaay too much.

After the lesson I spent a lot more time on 3s and also worked a bit on bad side FXOs and also back Russian stroking and the 3-turn pattern.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I didn't get to skate yesterday (got stuck at work) but I managed to escape to the last hour of the public session today. Worked on waltz-8, bad side FXOs, BXOs and a little of the LFI3 side 3-turn pattern.

Monday, May 12, 2008

BXOs & Waltz-8

Today's lesson was on the 7 a.m. FS as usual. Sonya asked me if I wanted to do a Moves runthrough and I said No! So we did the last half. As it turned out we didn't make it all the way through, though.

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs -- these are slowly getting better. Still need to work on not rushing the tempo. We talked about "sitting down" from the hips, with a straight back. Still have a long way to go though, and I really need to work these more.
  • Waltz-8 -- almost 2/3 of our lesson! My turns are really bad right now and we spent some time on them. I'm forcing them, rushing them and I don't let myself get set up before trying to do the turn. It's very frustrating. We took it back to working on two-foot turns, trying to get the down-up-down correctly and actually get turned into the circle. Arrgh. On the positive side I'm getting the push onto the BO edge to go "out" more, so that's good. The step forward is still a bit wonky.
I'm very frustrated with my turns right now. I really don't know how they got into this state and I'm just weirded out about them (that's most of the problem, really). I'll have to see if I can work on them with Kelli on Thursday.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Zoo

Amy called me at 1 p.m. to say the session was really quiet and I should get my butt down there... I was already getting ready to leave. It *was* quiet, and although there was no ice cut it was only bad for the last half hour or so.

Amy had brought her scribe and laid out some circles in center ice so I took advantage and used 'em for FI8, FO8 and waltz-8. Bleah! I worked on waltz-8 quite a bit. I also worked just on my pushoff, working on getting from blue line to blue line (50 ft) in one push. Couldn't quite make it on my right foot, left I barely made it.

I also spent some time working my LFI3s... trying to hold my arms down going into the turn, it seems to help me remember to bend my knee. Also worked on FXOs and BXOs. I did take time for a spin and a waltz jump to finish up. Skated for 1 hr 45 minutes, the longest I've skated in a while.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

FO8 & Waltz-8

Today's figures lesson on the 8:15 as usual. As usual, nice ice and only 4 skaters on the ice.
  • FO8 -- this is slowly getting better. I still need to get a better push. Kelli says that I need to work harder at keeping the free hip up so that I stay on the edge and don't get on a flat. Besides being poor form, it also slows you down. She also taught me how to do the little toe-push to get back to the line if you didn't push hard enough. Of course doing that is probably a fail on the test, but it is helpful for practice anyway.
  • Waltz-8 -- wow, this is continuing to stink. Kelli made me move over from the circles we'd been using so I wouldn't have that as a crutch to know where I am going. To be honest I usually have a pretty good feel for it anyway. Turns continue to be placed too early and BO edge a bit up on the toes, especially on the L side.
After my lesson I worked pretty extensively on the waltz-8 some more, also BXOs, FXOs and back stroking (all my weak points) plus some single lobes of LFI3-RFO3. Bleah.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

5th Skativersary!

So.. in honor of my 5th Skativersary, I skated the 8:15 FS this morning. There were only two of us on the session the whole time, and I had a pretty good skate. I did an APB Moves runthrough and I was thoroughly whupped afterward! Eeep. Actually I skipped CW stroking and I think I only did one circle each side of FXOs, but other than that it was complete. My LFI3-RFO3 side of the 3-turn pattern was really, really bad. Much work required.

My summary from last year is here. I'll try to do a year-summary and then I'll try to blog a 5-year retrospective later today, looking back and also looking forward.

Accomplishments & high points for the year:
  • PCAS '08. My first competition. Though I came in dead last, I did learn a program and skate it, and it's the only one of my 'big' goals from last year that I accomplished so that's something.
  • New blades -- MK Pro Parabolics. I think these have helped me a lot, especially on spinning.
  • Figures -- I started working with Kelli on school figures about a month or so ago and even in the short time we've been at it I see signs of improvement. I think it's going to help a lot. It's kind of Zen, it puts me in a good place in my head.
  • Ice time -- still my biggest challenge. I've been doing a bit better the last month or two, but I really need to keep pounding on getting more ice time. It's the key to everything.
  • Spins -- just like last year, I am still struggling with these. They have improved a lot though, in that I can reliably do a pretty good windup/step forward into a 1-rev spin. I don't know why I am having the issues I have trying to hold the position though.
  • Salchow -- this jump is still eluding me, but I have hopes that working the off-ice jump (I did it this morning!) consistently will help me get the timing.
  • Mental/psychological -- really, this is the key challenge I've been facing. Lack of nerve, lack of commitment, lack of confidence. I don't know what the answer to this is, really, other than to skate more (so that I'll be more comfortable and relaxed) and maybe to fix some other things in my life too.
  • Test -- the current plan is APB Moves on 7/27. I am at the point where I will probably go ahead and test even if I think I won't pass, just because I'm tired of postponing it. As for Freestyle -- I'll have to get my 1-foot spin and hopefully at least one full-rev jump (Salchow or toe loop).
  • Salchow -- 'nuff said.
  • Toe loop -- ditto.
  • Spin -- this is doable I think.
  • Figures -- I want a solid FO8, FI8 and at least one serpentine.
  • Attitude -- more confidence, more speed, more strength.
The Goals list looks a lot like last year, unfortunately, but perhaps that's to be expected.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I skated the 5:15 FS session (got out of work a little early). As usual, somewhat crowded (15 skaters, 5 coaches).

Worked my bad side FXOs, LFI3s, BXOs, some spins. I also worked on backward stroking per my lesson, and also a little time on FO8. I wasn't as productive as I would have liked, unfortunately. Still, I got out and skated so I guess that's something.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Edges, BXOs, Spins

Today's lesson on the 7 a.m. FS as usual:
  • Forward edges -- I was working on these just before the lesson, of course. Sonya just wanted a better push and a more authoritative skate.
  • BO edges -- we worked mostly on the pushoff. I can do it well but I need to be more consistent about it. Still working to keep the free foot in front on the first part of the lobe. Sonya wants me to practice just vanilla backward stroking (free foot in front, my nemesis!) to help with this.
  • BXOs -- revisiting these from last week. Sonya had me skate the test pattern. The first circle of the 'good' side (CW) wasn't bad but the other side was horrid, and the second time CW wasn't too good either. The problem (esp. on CCW) is that tend to push straight back instead of to the side. Need to work on turning the crossing foot in better and (just like on the FXOs) to hold the crossed position.
  • Spins -- just 5 minutes or so on these. The windup is looking good (need to remember to look firmly back though), so we worked mostly on bending the knee on the step forward and being sure to bring the hands together. Also need to work more on stepping back the way I came.
Sonya will be gone for a week or so later this month so we are going to need to skip a lesson and reschedule for the week after that. Sonya said the rink summer schedule should start mid-June (maybe 6/16) so my lesson will move to 7 a.m. at that time.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday public at Shiny Rink for about 1.5 hours. Had a good skate all in all. Worked a lot on waltz-8 bad side, bad side FXOs, BXOs, and the bad-side 3-turn pattern. And of course socialized a bit with skate buddy Amy and was annoyed by some hockey boys.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Before I got on the ice today, Sonya took a few minutes to show me the Salchow off-ice prep since we forgot to do it Monday. It's 3-turn on the floor, then 3 hops around the circle to get some rotation, pull in and jump. I'm still tending to bend the free leg and not bringing it through (knee up) well, but I can work on it.

Today's figures lesson on the 8:15 FS as usual. I had a longer warmup than usual since Kelli had another lesson before me, so I worked on my bad side FXOs a bit more. I really need to hit these every single time I skate so they become less scary to do properly.

Today's lesson was just on the waltz-8. Kelli is relatively happy with the 3-turn placement on the R side (L side, not so much). We worked a lot on body position, holding a good check out of the turn and pushing out for the step to the BO to make a better circle; then really pulling the shoulder back before the step forward. I did a really nice one on the R side. The L side needs a lot of work though! Kelli was very generous with her time and gave me several extra minutes.

After my lesson I asked her about figure (patch) blades and she said the Silver Test should be fine for me if I can find 'em. I'm working on it. I found some on eBay that were more-or-less the right size but they wanted too much for 'em so I let 'em go.

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