Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, August 31, 2009

Jumps & Spins!

Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. The rink's morning freestyle schedule changed this week back to "normal" -- 5:30 - 8 a.m., ice cut, 8:15 - 9:15. There's been some talk about changes for Tuesday morning and also starting at 5 instead but that's the way it stands right now.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz jump -- we mostly worked on bringing the hands back more on the step forward and bringing them up and together on the jump. Good progress on the first but I'm tending to just spread them straight out on the jump. Needs some work.
  • half flip -- main correction was to have a better posture on the rideout... again the "buns of steel" posture (:-)) as I think of it.
  • toe loop -- I'm still toe-waltzing these pretty badly. Sonya observed that part of the reason I'm not drawing together completely is that I get up on my toepick on the R foot so I can't really finish drawing it in -- so we worked on getting my weight more in the middle of the blade. Not much progress though. We also worked on bringing the left hand/arm straight in instead of helicoptering it around, and made some progress on this.
  • two-foot spin -- just a couple. Not too bad, but the first one I had my R shoulder down which didn't help, so we fixed that.
  • one-foot spin -- as usual I love my windup for this... but not much else. I did manage a pretty good 2-rev spin (for once this happened when Sonya is present!) but the rest not so great. We worked on being a little more relaxed on the step in. Sonya also mentioned that sometimes I don't really wait to hook the spin, I just step forward and try to force the spin... again, patience and not rushing is the fix. Still having a lot of trouble really getting over the L side on these.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Non-Zoo

I skated the afternoon public session today. The weather outside was quite nice, and the rink was pretty empty -- maybe 15 -20 people. I was there for an hour.

I had decided that I needed to warm up my jumps and spins since I have a lesson on them tomorrow, so I went ahead and practiced half flip, waltz jump, toe loop, two-foot and one-foot spins. Jumps are about the same as when I left 'em, which is gratifying -- toe loop still quite cheated, waltz jumps pretty good, half flip okay. Spins -- about the same. Mostly 1.5 revs and out, though I did get a really nice 2-rev spin... not sure how/why. Grrr.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Club Ice

I skated club ice as usual. There were about 10 skaters but no coaches tonight, which was kind of fun actually.

I spent most of my time working on Bronze moves. Forward and back perimeter XOs are doing a bit better, BXOs to landing position not too bad. Power-3s... ugh, these need a lot of work. 5-step... right side not too bad but left side is pretty stinky.

I had my first fall since I got back on the ice -- fell doing forward perimeter XOs, just a toepick! moment and down I went. No harm, no foul and I'm kind of glad to have that out of the way!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Bronze Moves

My lesson with Kelli was on the 6:15 FS. Ice was a bit beat-up for some reason... there were about 8 skaters.

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs to landing position -- I wanted to work these some more with some emphasis on getting better edges and more power. We worked 'em for about 20 minutes and made some good improvements. Main issues fixed were better posture (esp., keep the head/chest up!), sitting back on the edge more (not so much on the toe), and last, slowing down the tempo on the BXO. This last gives me a better BXO but also more power and tends to set up a better BO edge.
  • Forward perim. XOs -- main issue here was to skate with more confidence. Kelli gave me some corrections on the pattern... I need to be more deliberate on the FXO so that I don't short change that part of the pattern, and be sure to step to the FI edge right at the long axis. For some reason I'm quite comfortable heading into the boards and less so heading out into center ice! That seems backwards from most people. Anyway, some good progress on these as well.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Bronze Moves

Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. Ice was a bit busier than it has been, probably 8 or 9 skaters. This is my last week of jump/spin restrictions... yay!

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs to landing position -- I had some questions about arm position on this etc. Sonya wants my BO edge to be just a standard landing position, so arms straight out; then transition to free arm back and skating arm forward to transition into the BXO. I'm still up on my toe too much on the BO edge but we did some good work in sitting on the edge a bit better.
  • Forward Perimeter XOs -- we did some good work on these to get me over my skate a bit more before/during the FXO. In general the pattern looks pretty good on these and they don't feel too uncomfortable.
  • Back Perimeter XOs -- we mostly worked on getting a better power push ("bay window"). Sonya had me practice what I'm calling "Twist and Shout" (lol) -- BXOs around the hockey circle, then power-push and hollllllddddd around the other hockey circle, lather, rinse, repeat :-). It seems to be the RBI power push (I guess that's how I'd label it) that seems to be most problematic as far as really getting the weight over, getting the "twist" and locking the inside leg and getting a good bend on the outside leg.
In general I think I'm making good progress on the Bronze moves but they are definitely lacking the power that they need to have. Also I do feel too much like I'm skating "on" the ice not "in" it.

A milestone: I didn't mention it to Sonya but today's lesson was a milestone -- our 130th lesson. This means that after all this time I've finally had more lessons with Sonya than with any other coach (I had 129 lessons with my first coach, Anna). Since I've usually only had 1 lesson a week with Sonya it's understandable that it took us more than 3 years working together to get to this point (with time off for injuries etc.).

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Zoo

I skated for an hour at the public session. Not too crowded (weather outside was really nice). Not a lot I can really do at public since Moves are not usually a good idea and I'm still not jumping/spinning. I worked a lot on FXOs, BXOs, waltz-8 and edges and a bit on 3s. My FI3s really stink, I have a hard time doing them if I have the free leg close in (which suggests I can't really do them well at all). Grr.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Club Ice

As usual (when I'm home anyway!) I skated club ice tonight. About 8 skaters but we all showed up just in the nick of time. I got to premiere my new skating mix CD and it seemed to be relatively well received, although the most finicky critics (Emmy, Karly and Madison) weren't there so who really knows? LOL!

I worked on Bronze moves a lot, especially BXOs to landing position, forward perim. XOs and and bit on 5-step and power-3s. They need a lot more work but they are fun to practice so that's really something. I also spent a little bit of time on FO8 and FI8 and they went surprisingly well! It helped that the ice was fresh and really nice...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FI8/FO8 & 5-Step Mohawk

After work today I attended the 6:15 p.m. FS for my lesson with Kelli, my first with her since I got back on the ice. Since I had had a lesson with Sonya in the morning it was perhaps not the best timing, but it worked out fine. The ice had some hockey ruts in a few places that were bad, and it was relatively warm (I think it was 54!). Only 6 skaters, so that was nice.

Today's lesson:
  • FI8/FO8 -- since I am not going to be able to take the Figures LTS classes for a while (I'm the only one who signed up :-() I thought it would be good to work on these with Kelli. We worked on regaining my control. Kelli asked me to maintain the position ("stay seated" as she says) until 3/4 of the way around the circle, at which point she wanted me to pass the arms forward at the same time as the free leg. This was a bit different than I'd been doing (previously I'd done the arms first, then the free leg, and I'd started at the 1/2 way point) and it took a while to get it but I did and it did seem to give me a bit better control coming back to the center. The nice part was that my circle size was pretty much spot on.
  • 5-step mohawk -- on to the last of the Bronze Moves to work on. The main thing to work on here was to make the 5 steps have the same timing, which meant for me counting to 3 on each step and to (especially) not rush the first two steps. This is slowly improving. I think the big thing is to not rush in general, take it one step at a time and be somewhat collected in how I go about it. The BO edge and step forward still a bit rough but not too bad.

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Turns & Power-3s

Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. as usual, but today instead of Monday due to a trip I took. As usual, nice ice, and 6 or 7 skaters.

Today's lesson:
  • 3s -- Since we are continuing working on basics Sonya wanted to work on forward 3s (I don't have any back 3s at this point... gotta get those sometime). We worked on the hockey circle, first a two foot turn, then LFO3 and RFI3. We worked on getting a better up-down-up and check, and then to hold the entrance for two seconds before turning. Sonya wants me to really work on turning my upper body into the circle more before the turn. Some good progress on these, so we went on to the other direction (two-foot turn, RFO3 and LFI3). A little skiddy on the RFO3. LFI3s are surprisingly not bad (I wouldn't call them good though!).
  • Power-3s -- since we had worked on 3s we went on to work on the Bronze moves power-3s. These are pretty fun! I'd done them before but it had been a while. Sonya reminded me that the lobe with the 3 is supposed to be smaller than the back lobe. We only had time to really do once around on each foot. I'd say my biggest problems with these are placing the 3 waaaay too early (need to hold the entrance edge longer) and tending to step forward to the inside edge instead of outside (i.e. doing a mohawk instead of a choctaw).
We're in the 7 a.m. timeslot next week and the week after, then no Monday lesson (Labor Day), and after the new rink schedule is in we'll move to 7:30 a.m. Monday.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009


I skated the 7:45 FS this morning. When I first got on the ice I noticed that I felt pretty good -- pretty "on my feet" and comfortable. Nice way to start the session!

I had a pretty good skate. I worked on forward and back Russian stroking, 5-step Mohawk, and some time on the BXOs to BO edges (I cornered Sonya before the session and she drew me a quick diagram to remind me where the BXO goes -- basically step to the BO edge at the top/bottom of the lobe, hold the BO, transition to the BXO halfway, BXO, etc.). I also spent some time on FO8/FI8 (a bit better today than Tuesday), edges, waltz-8. I spent 10 minutes or so just working on the RBO step forward that I have such issues with. Not sure I made much progress though :-(.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I skated the 6:15 FS. Not too crowded and pretty nice ice. I worked on FO8/FI8, FXOs, BXOs, edges, and stroking. For the last half of the practice I spent some quality time on Bronze moves, especially back Russian stroking and BXOs to landing position. I discovered that despite having worked on this (BXOs to landing position) just *yesterday* I'm not quite sure about the pattern! Grrr. Have to go over it again w/Sonya next week (or Kelli). Back Russian stroking is slowly improving but I need to be more confident and aggressive and really work on getting that power shift correctly.

Skating tomorrow a.m., then I am gone on a vacation and have lessons next Tuesday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Basics & Bronze Moves

So today was my first lesson in a loooong time, at 7 a..m. Great ice, and not too crowded at all. As usual for this sort of thing we just started at the basics.

Today's lesson:
  • Stroking -- of course! Not too bad, usual reminders to keep my chin up, bend the knees more. End crossovers weren't too bad (yay!)
  • FXOs & BXOs -- again, need to be down in the knees more on the FXOs. CCW BXOs were kinda scratchy but CW were actually not too bad at all. Sonya reminded me to keep the shoulder pulled back and keep the arms hugging the circle.
  • Russian stroking -- a.k.a. perimeter crossovers. Spent a lot of time on forward to refresh me on the pattern -- need to step to the outside edge at the top of the lobe and then do the FXO. I need more power and to work on holding the extension on the FI edge; also to do the transition to the FXO better. On the back ones, my power push ("bay window" as Kelli calls it) is kind of lacking, I'm not getting all the way over like I need to. I know this pattern a lot better though, and it shows. Still need more power and more confidence.
  • BXOs to landing position -- a quick review of the pattern. Wow, I'm not comfy holding that BO edge right now, I was up on my toes something fierce! Need more power & speed.
Next week I'll be back to lessons with Kelli as well. No jumping/spinning until 8/31.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Saturday Zoo

I skated that afternoon public session, just for an hour. Not too crowded, which was nice. Mostly worked on FXOs and BXOs, and waltz-8. Some deterioration in all of these things but not as bad as I'd feared. I did tire pretty easily though, and my back was a bit tired/sore. No skating tomorrow so that's probably just as well.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Club Ice

I was back on club ice tonight for the first time.. in a long time. Most of the home girls were there. I mostly worked on edges, stroking, FXOs and BXOs, with a few waltz-8s and some back perimeter XOs thrown in for good measure.

I still feel pretty stiff and unsure, but it's getting better.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ice, Ice Baby

Today I was back on the ice for the first time since June 2nd! I just skated 45 minutes at the 7:45 FS session. It was nice to see so many familiar faces! Thanks for the warm welcome :-).

I limited myself to forward and backward stroking and edges. The first 15 - 20 minutes were a bit scary. I felt very stiff and a bit wobbly. It got a lot better, but I was pretty tired by the time I got off. Forward edges okay; FO8 and FI8 not too bad but I couldn't get quite all the way around the circle on one push. Back edges a bit rough, especially BO. I did some back swizzle pumps around the circle to try to get a feel for the BO edge.

All in all not too bad and it's good to be back. Foot didn't hurt at all but my toes were complaining a bit about being squished. I'm going to skate club ice tomorrow night, then a bit Sat. and my first lesson back on Monday.

Cactus Classic

Just a quick placeholder note -- I attended Cactus Classic July 23 -26 in Scottsdale. This was the competition I was supposed to compete in until I broke my foot. I had a great time watching the competition, there was a lot of great skating! Congrats to all the homegirls from Sherwood who competed (Sam, Karly, Emmy, Emily and Deanna). Also congrats to Katlynn McNab for a great job for her first time competing as a Junior Lady!

A special moment was getting to meet blog "fan" Melissa while in line for food! I'll post a pic later!