Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday Zoo

I skated for 45" at the afternoon public session. It was *very* crowded. I wanted to work on jumps and spins but it was difficult under the circumstances. As I expected I was not able to reproduce my spin from last night, but I did a couple that were 2 revs. It's really hard for me to concentrate on spins in a public session as it seems there is always somebody next to you or behind you during the spin or the exit! Grrr. I also worked a bit on toe loop and had a couple that were pretty good. I think it's still a toe-waltz but it's getting more comfortable and looking at my trace, I'm getting my feet a lot closer.

Figures Group Lesson #3

Today was my 3rd figures group lesson (I missed last week since I was ill). Madelyn was teaching since Kelli was out of town and Leone was sick. There were 8 of us; I wound up having to share circles with another skater which didn't work out so well since he is faster than me, he kept catching up to me and it was frustrating for both of us. I just worked on FI8 and FO8. I am doing a better job of getting around on the FI8, not so much on the FO8. Since my push is (I think) about the same I'm assuming it's due to too many flats on the FO8.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Waltz-8, Jumps, Spins

Today's lesson was on club ice. A work conflict had caused me to reschedule from my usual 7 a.m. Monday slot but it was just as well since I was too sick to skate on Monday anyway.

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- Sonya wanted to see how this is faring. It's improving. The left side is looking a lot better. We worked on the right side to have the 3-turn be not so straight, to curve more/faster and to hold the BO edge straighter so it didn't curve into the circle so quickly. We made some good progress on this.
  • Waltz jump -- just a few of these. Sonya had me work on improving my timing so that my arms come back with the free leg on the step forward, then come through with the leg on the jump. We also worked on bringing the arms together (not apart) on the jump, and bringing them up a little more. Sonya felt obliged to point out that my mouth tends to hang open on the landing (I told her I'm always surprised I did it, lol) so one more thing to worry about! Grrr. :-)
  • Toe loop -- just continuing to work on the timing and to bring the R leg all the way back before jumping. This is improving slowly and it's definitely getting better. She also reminded me to feel the L hand drawing back into the jump, and bring the R hand around to meet it.
  • 1-foot spin -- We did just one of these and it was MY BEST SPIN EVER!! Seriously, I got 3+ revs, the first time ever. I'm not exactly sure what I did differently... but I felt secure and I actually could feel myself on the sweet spot and *I didn't bail*!! Wow. I was so happy I could spit. Yes, it traveled outrageously and I'm sure there were other issues but I was really, really happy. Sonya asked if I wanted to do another (it was close to the end of the lesson) and I said NO! I just wanted to savor that. I'll keep working on it, of course.
  • Backspin intro -- so, since we had a couple of minutes left Sonya felt she needed to introduce me to the backspin. She had me try it from an LFI edge, step to RFI3 and spin. It's not happening yet (dang that's WEIRD) but we played around with it at the wall a little bit. Awesome.
This was a great lesson! I'm so happy.... I feel like I got enough progress to keep me working hard. Thanks be to God and St. Lydwina! I have been so discouraged at times in the past few months about my spins, but this shows me that I can do it! I just have to keep working and it will happen. YAY!

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BO Edges & FO3s

Today's lesson was on the 8:15 FS. Great conditions for my 1st time on the ice since 2/16; I have been out due to a very serious cold/flu bug that sidelined me pretty seriously.

Today's lesson:
  • BO edges -- the usual coach effect, whatever you are working on right before your lesson, they want to look at. We worked on these for a while. My push-off has improved a lot but I'm regressing on the first lobe, so Kelli had me try to keep my skating foot close on the push-off (I was tending to wide-step) and work hard to keep the free foot, if not in front, at least at the side so as to not let the rotation get away from me. This helped a lot. The other lobes are not too bad.
  • FO3s -- I asked to work on these since they are one of my biggest concerns. We worked on them for over half the lesson. Kelli held my hand while I did some, working to have more control and to set them up better, and also working on holding the check. We definitely made some progress. My biggest issues with these seem to be psychological more than anything else :-(. More work is needed.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Spins & Salchow

Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. as usual:
  • Spins -- we worked on these at some length; Sonya asked me to try to feel like I was "sweeping" my L arm around and also not be in a hurry to bring the arms in.
  • Salchow -- we worked on these from the LFO3 and also from a mohawk entrance. They are not coming particularly readily... I need to spend more time working this stuff. I'm having a hard time keeping my weight firmly over the L side on the LBI edge, and I'm not bending the knee enough.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Zoo

I skated the Saturday public session after running some errands after my group lesson. Since I get to skate this session for free after my class I'll probably skate it most Saturdays and take Sundays off.

It was fairly crowded and as usual lots of little kids zipping through the middle with no control whatsoever. Amy was there and a couple of other people that I know by face if not by name. I worked a lot on crossovers, waltz-8, a little bit of 3-turn pattern and some jumps and spins.. I skated for an hour and 15 minutes in all.

Figures Group Lesson #2

Today was our 2nd figures lesson. There were 6 of us today (there are 9 people (!) signed up for the class but not all of them have come each time), and we each got our own pair of circles to work on. Kelli had us work on whatever we wanted, so I worked on FI8, FO8 and Waltz-8. I was wearing my FS blades as I will be from now on. It was tough! Although there is something to be said about practice, practice, practice without so much stopping. I still am not getting all the way around, though, even though my circles were a little smaller than usual. The Waltz-8 needs a lot of work -- I should use a pre-drawn circle more often, it really shows up how bad my back mohawk is. Grrr.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Club Ice

This entry is brought to you by the letters "M" ("Mmmmmmmmmm") and "K" ("Kay" or maybe "Kah") :-).

I skated club ice as usual. It was not too crowded. I was somewhat tired and unmotivated after a rather long day; but I did do some work on spins and jumps, and a lot of crossovers and some work on 3s.

Stroking & XOs

Today's moves lesson (formerly figures) with Kelli on the 8:15 FS. Absolutely fabulous conditions for a lesson, it doesn't get any better.

Today's lesson:
  • Stroking -- it seems like I'm always working on these. Kelli didn't critique as to whether I'm keeping my head up so perhaps I'm doing a better job on this. We worked a bit on the FXOs in particular, which led to...
  • FXOs -- in the pattern. Kelli's not pleased (she must have forgotten what they were like the last time she saw them). We spent a lot of time working on getting them smoother and a better underpush, especially CW. They're still way too clunky.
  • BXOs -- Still working on getting the weight back on the blade and de-scraping these.
I had hoped we would get to work on 3-turns but we spent all our time on the above! Lots to work on.

Kelli mentioned that she had been talking (during my warmup) with Leone and Lauren about my skating and the general consensus is (as we had discussed in my last lesson w/Kelli) working to get me to relax and not be so tense. I wish I had the magic formula for this!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. Had a good skate, spent some good quality time on waltz jump, half flip and spins. I did get one spin that was rather better. I just need to keep working it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Making Some Changes

I've been doing some serious thinking the last few weeks, and it was brought to a head Saturday with the figures group lesson. I'm going to make some changes. I discussed them with both my coaches and they agree that they are positive steps to make at this time.

  • I'm going to put aside my patch blades for now. While I've learned a lot about my skating by using them, they tend to undermine my confidence right now and that's not a good thing. They distract me a lot and that's not something I need right now.
  • I'm going to change my figures private lessons with Kelli to moves lessons. I have some things that really need fixing and there's just not enough time to do that and still learn the freestyle stuff (spins, especially) that I need a lot more time on if I have a chance of passing APB FS this year.
  • I'm going to continue taking the group figures class but I'll do it in my FS blades.
  • I'm going to try to pass the APB Moves and FS tests by June...
  • ... so that I can compete at Cactus Classic in Scottsdale in July against my buddy Jose!
This was not a quick decision, though it may seem like it. I've been thinking about this stuff for months. I'm feeling good about it.


Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. as usual. Weather was a bit icy, and very foggy! We spent our whole lesson on freestyle stuff, prefaced with a discussion of the APB freestyle test.

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz jump -- just a few of these. Sonya's emphasis was on posture, keeping the head up, getting more spring in the jump, and staying off the toepick on the BO edge before the jump.
  • Half flip -- hadn't done these in a while. Not too bad, but similar feedback on posture and spring.
  • Toe loop -- the entrance is better but still working on getting the actual jump. Grrr. They are coming along slowly though.
  • Two-foot spin -- worked on standing straighter and holding for 3+ revs. These are not too bad but I need to work to get a little more oomph in them to keep the spin going.
  • One-foot spin -- I got another 2-rev spin, finally. These are still very inconsistent and I don't feel anywhere near to having them dialed in yet.
Sonya wants me to spend more time on jumps and spins in my practice time -- I've been neglecting them pretty badly.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday public session as usual. I skated for an hour and 15 minutes, working mostly on waltz-8 as well as some FXOs, 3s, and spins.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Figures Group Lesson #1

Today I had my first figures group lesson. It was my first group lesson since December 2003! Kelli and Leone were teaching. There were 6 of us -- 4 adults (!) and two youngsters (Emmy and Karly).

Kelli laid out several sets of circles and had us work on FO8 and FI8. It was very frustrating for me as I still can't get around a whole circle on one push yet. I was wearing my patch blades. I'm seriously considering putting them aside for a while, I think maybe they (or rather the lack of confidence/comfort I have on them) may be holding me back. Kelli worked with me and Leone a bit too. She's quite a character.

Toward the end of the lesson Kelli introduced the waltz-8, although most of us were pretty familiar with it.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Club Ice

I skated club ice again tonight. Only 8 skaters, so not bad at all. I got a fair amount of work in on moves. My BXOs are definitely improving. And of course the session was very entertaining, especially with Madison and Karly doing their dance to "Hot and Cold" by Katy Perry, LOL! It cracked me up.

Before the session Kelli gave me a special treat -- someone found the Freestyle punch card I lost several weeks ago! Apparently it was in the parking lot. A big YAY for that since it still had 6 punches on it! Thank goodness these things have one's name on them.


Today's figures lesson was in a different time slot (8:15 a.m. Fri) due to a scheduling problem. I asked Kelli if we could continue in this slot as it's better ice and less crowded; she said she'd let me know.

We spent our whole lesson working on the FI8. I still can't get around! I'm very frustrated after all this time that I'm still so tentative on this. Kelli worked with me for a long time trying to get me to relax and be less tense. It's the story of my life right now :-(.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. Worked a bunch of stuff, including waltz-8, FXOs, BXOs, 3s, BO edges, and 3-turn pattern. A good skate.

After skating I dropped my FS skates off to be sharpened, they are definitely due.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pounding Away

Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. as usual, the rink was 36 degrees F! Geez. My hand/arm are not hurting from my fall yesterday, and I was actually awake, but I still felt pretty stiff. The ice seemed really brittle this morning also.

Today's lesson:
  • Stroking -- both directions. Mostly "maintenance"... more power, more push, keeping the eyes up, the usual stuff.
  • Waltz-8 -- we worked mostly on the step forward and also holding the back edge around so that it comes back into the circle. Some small progress.
  • FXOs -- not my best... a bit clunky, and I need to keep my eyes up.
  • Spins -- I did a pretty good 2-foot spin, then we went to the one-foot and I'm still dropping my free side.
Kind of a frustrating lesson. I feel like I'm beating my head against the proverbial wall and not getting anywhere. Grr.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday Zoo

I skated the public session as usual. Since it was Super Bowl Sunday it wasn't as crowded as usual. I skated half an hour in my patch blades, and then another half hour in my FS blades. I worked on a bunch of stuff. Around 3 p.m. I was working on the 3-turn pattern and I fell on my hand, which hurt and put me in a bad mood :-(. So I did the pattern a couple more times, then left and took some ibuprofen.