Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. Sonya and Kelli were back, so I had a chance to talk to them. Sonya needs to move my lesson to Thursdays for the month of April (fortunately I have an opening). We will need to talk more about testing ASAP.

I worked a bunch on waltz-8 and FO3s, toe loop and spins. Waltz-8 is improved, and I'm gaining more control on my FO3s (yay!). Toe loops are about the same, but my timing is better at least. Spins... no particularly good ones, alas.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Zoo

I skated the afternoon public session as usual. It was not so much that it was crowded as that the number of totally out-of-control kids was relatively high. Nevertheless I got some good work down on toe loop and FXOs and waltz-8. I spent a good chunk of time on spins and had some good results -- in particular I got a 3.5 rev spin!! My best yet! It traveled a lot :-( but I stayed with it. I also had a 3-rev spin and several in the 2+ rev range. It's progress, real progress and it made me quite happy :-). I'm still having trouble bringing the R side around though. On one of the longer spins I actually had the presence of mind to try to bring it around during the spin... weird, weird feeling.

Figures Lesson #7

I had my last group lesson for the semester today. Pretty much working on same stuff -- FO8, FI8 and waltz-8. Having some issues keeping the free hip up on the RFI8. Grrr. Leone gave me some corrections on it but having trouble making it happen. FO8 was much better. Waltz-8 still a work in progress. Grrr.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Club Ice

As usual, skated club ice at 6:30. There were 7 of us (spring break, so not too crowded). Had a reasonably good skate. I got one toe loop that was only slightly toe-waltzed (the very first one I did), but the subsequent ones weren't as good :-(. Some 2-revs spins, but nothing to write home about... and some work on waltz-8, BXOs, 3s, etc.

3s & BXOs

Today's lesson was on the 8:15 with Leone. Before my lesson I was working on FO8 and FI8 and they were really good, which pleased me no end.

Today's lesson:
  • FO3s -- we spent quite a bit of time on these. Main corrections were... look where I'm going (how many bazillion times have I heard that); need to keep the skating hand inside the circle after the turn (don't let it swing out); keep the free foot closer; and especially on the RFO3, work to have better bend in the knee and especially the hip before the turn. There was a fair amount of improvement on these, which makes me happy :-) especially since I worked on them because I know I should, not because I felt like it :-).
  • BXOs -- worked mostly on the less-happy side. Leone's main correction was to... can't remember the exact expression... something like making the back foot follow the circle after the cross. It's sort of like letting it come back around, not just pushing it out of the circle. This resulted in a good improvement, though there's still much to be done (there's still some scraping left). Leone says I pretty much do this on the happier side already.
I'm really pleased with the progress I've made during these lessons with Leone. Sonya and Kelli are back next week and it's back at it.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. I was kind of tired, but had a pretty good skate anyway. Worked on waltz-8, it's improving -- I'm doing a much better job of holding that back edge and that makes the step forward easier. Worked briefly on BXOs and wow, the CW ones are actually ALMOST SCRAPE-FREE!! Whee! The CCW ones... need more work :-). 3-turn pattern -- eh. Actually I really need to work the back lobe on the L side, I just can't seem to be consistent about it. And finally, spins -- I got about 3 2-rev spins, including one that was really nicely centered! The big things continue to be 1) relax and be more slow and deliberate going into the spin, and 2) once in position, really stand up over the skating foot. Slow but steady progress... I'll take it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Zoo

As usual I skated the afternoon public session, for about an hour. Despite the crowd I got some good time in. I spent some time on spins and got a couple of decent 2-rev spins. I think my biggest problem with these is that I need to slow down and relax into them. When I go into them slower I have more time to get a good position, I think. I'm still trying to be consistent about bringing my R side around and bringing my hands together though.

Figures Group Lesson #6

We had only 5 of us for today's lesson. Leone was teaching. I spent my time working on FO8, FI8 and waltz-8. I had to spend some serious time fixing my push as I just wasn't getting around the circle. Leone reminded me to "lead with the knee" and that helps a lot, it keeps me from getting bent over. On the waltz-8 it took some time to get it back just to where it was yesterday but eventually they were not too bad at all.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Club Ice

I skated the club ice session tonight as usual. It was pretty quiet, only 6 skaters. Spring break is next week and there was a competition last week so things are a little quiet I guess.

I had just a so-so skate. I was really tired, between skiing yesterday, lesson this morning and a workout this afternoon. Worked on spins (one 2-rev, the rest were not so good), toe loop (no improvement), waltz-8, FXOs, BXOs and some miscellaneous messing around.

Waltz-8 & 3-Turn Pattern

Today's lesson with Leone was on the 8:15 FS like last week. As usual for this session, great ice and great conditions.

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- we spent some 20 minutes on this. Leone suggested I start with my arms in more of an "L" shape, with my free hand further forward than I'm accustomed to (now that I think about it I think both Kelli and Sonya have suggested this to me at various times also). We worked a lot on the back edge and the step forward. Key points were 1) try to keep the free leg in front at the beginning of the back edge, and 2) on the step forward, bring the free leg further in (to the instep, not the heel) to step on it. These two corrections made a world of difference! Keeping the free leg in front made me slow down, hold the edge longer, and kept me off my toe somewhat. I'm pretty sure I've tried to do this in the past but I think the progress I've made recently made it more feasible and easier. Bringing the free foot to the instep for the step forward keeps me from wide-stepping and also makes it easier to actually step onto an FO edge (instead of an FI that I then forced to an FO). Some good improvements that I need to reinforce ASAP :-).
  • 3-turn pattern -- we worked mostly on the LFI3 side (my less-happy side :-)). We spent most of our time working on the back lobe, although we did take some time on trying to hold the FO edge a bit longer (it's getting better). On the back lobe, pretty much the same corrections I've had from Sonya except that I'm trying to take my learning on the step forward from Waltz-8 and apply it here too, with mixed results. I can do these pretty well if I concentrate. Leone said that my last time through was much better, in particular I was more deliberate and less rushed. That's progress!
One more lesson with Leone next week, and then Sonya and Kelli should be back.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I skated the 5:15 FS this evening (usually it's 6 p.m. but I got off work early). Had a pretty good skate, ran through most of my APB Moves test except 3-turn pattern. Waltz-8 is looking better but I still want to work on it with Leone this week (and 3-turn pattern). There were only 6 skaters and one coach, so good conditions.

Spent some quality time on spins and toe loop. I'm starting to finally get the hang of what to do with my arms on the toe loop (yay!) although I'm not consistent yet; but it's still a toe-waltz. I'll keep working on it. Spins -- bleah. Didn't get any good ones. Grr.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Zoo

I skated the Saturday public session (it's included with my group lessons), but just for half an hour as I had errands to run. Worked on waltz-8, 3-turn pattern, LFI3s, FXOs, and a bit on spins. I did get one relatively good spin (I think it was 2 revs) and several not good at all ones. Have to keep working on them...

Figures Group Lesson #5

Today's lesson was taught by Leone and Shannon. We had 7 people but we each had our own circles (the rink got us more ice, yay!). Had a pretty good lesson. I was very pleased that my FO8 and FI8 were as good as they were last week (and I know I had full-size circles this week). Also spent a little time on waltz-8 and it needs more work. At some point I'll have to try the back 8s... I saw Lauren working on hers and they were lovely... alas, mine will not look like that without lots and lots of work!


Friday, March 13, 2009


Today's lesson was with Leone. Leone is my "skating Grandma", since she taught my coach :-). Since Sonya is out of town she had encouraged me to have a lesson with one of the other coaches, and I decided I wanted to work on my 3s with Leone.

Today's lesson:
  • FO3s -- we worked on these at great length. Leone had me concentrate on getting a better FO edge, really feeling my weight over that edge. On the RFO3 she made me hold her scarf to get me to think about where my hands are before/during/after the turn.
  • FI3s -- again, more work on holding the edge before the 3 and keeping my free leg a bit closer. We also worked a bunch on holding the check on the LFI3, which is my biggest problem with it.
  • 3-turn pattern -- we looked at this briefly, and made some progress in getting me to check the exit of the LFI3 and to hold the entrance to the RFO3 a bit. Yay!
  • BXOs -- just a couple minutes on this at the end. Leone had me work to have the back foot be on a BO edge *from the beginning* (rolling the ankle slightly during the reach-in) and of course work to place my weight on it more firmly. A bit of progress.
All in all some good work on one of my biggest concerns at this point! We have another lesson next week, we'll probably work on these again and/or waltz-8.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. Lots of people running programs since the Jackson Hole meet is this week. I had a good skate, worked a lot on toe loop and spins... but no real progress unfortunately. Grr.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Toe Loop & Salchow

Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. as usual. This is my last lesson with Sonya for a bit as she will be on vacation.

Today's lesson:
  • Toe loop -- working on de-toe-waltzing. We worked on the draw-through at the wall and out on the ice as well. It appears the primary problem I'm having is that I'm not really committing my weight to the toepick. Not much progress but I think I have a better feeling for what I'm supposed to be doing.... so I guess that's something.
  • Salchow -- these are about the same. The entrance is better -- I'm doing a nice check of the 3, which never used to happen, and I'm actually bending the skating leg; but the arms aren't really coming through and the not really jumping. Grrr.
  • Spins -- just a couple minutes at the end. Alas, no good ones today :-(. Sonya did tell me that I need to be sure not to be leaning out of the circle on the windup. Grr.
Sonya told me my homework while she's gone will be to look for music for Cactus in July. We also talked briefly about the possibility of testing in Medford at the end of April in an effort to get the APB Moves test done with. The problem with that is that Sonya's not available for that (it would be an all-weekend thing since Medford is a good 4+ hour drive) so I would have to go by myself (though Sonya says she knows a coach there that could put me on). The test dates coming up are 4/26 and 5/24 and 6/14. If I waited until 5/24 to test (my original plan), I could not retake the Moves test 6/14 since it wouldn't have been the 28 days you have to wait to retest. Hmm.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday Zoo

As usual, I skated at the afternoon public session after class. I had a pretty good skate (I stayed for an hour), working on spins and jumps. Still no 3-rev spins but it's getting better. I'm still tending to not bring the R side around though. My toe loops are still toe-waltzy :-( and the salchow isn't happening.

Figures Group Lesson #4

There were only 6 of us today and we each had our own circles -- much more manageable. All I can say about today is HURRAY!! I'm not sure why, but I did much, much better today than ever before! :-) I worked on FO8 and FI8 and was getting around the circle completely with good control... Kelli was impressed. Leone gave me some feedback on keeping my chest/core up. Kelli had me do my own circles instead of pre-drawn and I did pretty well. I would have been happy just to work on FO8 and FI8 the whole time (I was really into it, I was so happy) but toward the end of class Kelli told me to work on waltz-8. That was a jolt back to reality :-). Still, I'm really happy with my progress.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Club Ice

I skated club ice as usual tonight. It was a lot of fun, I always enjoy this chance to skate w/people I know and when I'm actually awake :-). I worked on spins, jumps, 3-turn pattern, FXOs, and BXOs. On the spins, I didn't get any 3-rev spins :-( but I'm noticing that I am hanging in with the spins now and not (usually) bailing out early like I used to, so that's good. I did get several good 2-rev spins, including one that was pretty nicely centered with circles 10-12" wide.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

3-Turn Pattern

Today's moves lesson with Kelli was all about the APB 3-turn pattern. To our credit we spent all of our time working the harder side. Alas, I'm not sure that we made much progress. The LFI3 is still somewhat uncontrolled in the check, and the RFO3 is very, very whippy. Grrr. I call this the "drunken sailor" and now Kelli knows why :-(.

On the positive side, at the end of the lesson Kelli asked to see the other side and she was amazed at how much better it is :-).

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual tonight... worked on spins and jumps and lots of other stuff. Toward the end of the session I actually got another 3-rev spin! I was very excited. Right now it's very, very inconsistent, which is frustrating. When I get it right I can feel that I'm bringing the free leg around and it's more relaxed. I will keep working on it and I trust it will settle down eventually.

The "high point" of the evening was when I was putting my skates on my purple laces (which were getting kind of frayed) finally gave out and I whacked my jaw with my hand when it broke :-(. I had ordered more purple laces 2 months or more ago but they seem to be hard to come by... so I had to put my light blue backup laces on. Oh well! They match my new light blue Intel water bottle :-)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Jumps & Spins

Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. as usual:
  • Lunges -- I reminded Sonya that the APB FS test requires a lunge or a spiral. So... we looked at my lunge. L foot, not too bad. Sonya reminded me to keep the head/chin up and chest forward. Main issue is I tend to scrape the toe a bit coming up from the lunge. The R side -- not as bad as I'd feared, mostly just a bit awkward.
  • Spirals -- L side... Sonya says I'm almost at hip height on the leg. Still need to straighten the skating leg a bit more and keep the chin up more. R side... needs work! Free leg is not as high, and the skating leg really needs to straighten more.
  • Half flip -- not too bad. Still need more "jump" in the jump, and I'm not always getting around 180 degrees. Timing has improved though.
  • Salchow -- Sonya had me approach this from a setup similar to waltz jump, i.e. BXOs to back edge, step forward, LFO3. This improved my timing a bit, but then I was tending to not hold the LBI very long so had to fix that. Also worked on the arms a bit. This jump just seems to not make sense to me yet.
  • Spins -- as I expected I didn't get any as good as last Friday, but, not too bad. A couple of solid spins, the last one 2+ revs that were nice solid circles, more-or-less centered.
After my lesson I worked some on toe loop and waltz jump. Waltz jump still trying to improve my timing/coordination of the arms coming through. Toe loop is still mostly a toe waltz. Grr.

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