Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Figures lesson at coffee club at Chandler as usual.... good ice. A bit crowded for coffee club actually, there were like 9 skaters present!

Today's lesson:
  • FO edges -- we skipped FI edges today. FO edges are improving. Still need to work on keeping straight up when pushing off and not widestepping.
  • B edges -- BO edges, the RBO is pretty good. LBO still having problems trusting the edge. Lynne says I need to really commit to it and put my weight all the way over my skate. BI edges were pretty nice... I love BI edges in my patch blades, they are so smooth!
  • FI8 -- My push is slowly improving although I am still challenged to get all the way around. In general these weren't too bad though other than that.
  • FO8 -- These have improved as well, though they still have a long way to go.
  • FO3s -- LFO3 is doing pretty well. RFO3 is still pretty skidded but it is improving.
  • FI3 -- we worked them at the boards, and then I tried a couple of RFI3s out on the ice. The first one went well until I tried to step forward afterward (I've never successfully done this in patch blades) and of course I fell. But the turn itself was good, and I did a couple more that were okay. Didn't try the LFI3 (we were out of time and I was chicken) but we will work on them next time.
All in all a very good lesson. I sometimes get quite frustrated with this but I really am making progress. The additional practice I am getting now (what little there is) is definitely helping.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spins & Jumps

Today's lesson on the 7:30 FS at Gilbert. Nice ice** and only like 3 skaters.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz jump -- just a few to warm up. Not too bad, I'm getting good spring. JJ reminded me not to worry too much about the step forward into the LFO being on the same circle as the BO edge preceding -- don't want too much curve on the LFO anyway.
  • salchow -- just a few of these. Have to remember to really stretch the R arm back and then bring it in, not around.
  • toe loop -- we worked on these quite a bit. Still cheating. JJ showed me an exercise (similar to one I was already doing) -- do the RFI3, pick in, go into a pivot but then do a BO3 with the R foot. This gets the feeling of putting your weight on the pick but also the feeling of going forward/following through. It seems to help, I will work it some more.
  • spins -- a few good ones, a few not-so-good. JJ reminded me to really ride that edge and most importantly, not release (pull in) until the 3-turn. Not going into the 3-turn, but right when it happens (or immediately after). Thinking about it this way really helps, and the few times I was able to do this were much better. The spins I'm getting are still pretty wonky but I am staying with them, so I count that as progress.
  • BXOs -- by my request we spent a few minutes on these working on descratching them with some success. No epiphanies, just working on pushing the heel down on the push-under. Besides doing them in a big circle (we did both sides) we also worked doing alternating BXOs down the rink. A little rough but coming along.
After my lesson I stayed for the 8:15 session (1.5 hours total skating). I worked on moves a bunch as well as more time on sal, toe and spins. I discovered I really need to work on my RFO3 side power-3s, I worked on them and they were really, really bad. Some good progress on the toe loop, I got one that was not really cheated in the usual way but had a bit of a 3 from the R foot before the takeoff. Still I was pretty happy with that because I think it's a lot closer to how the "real thing" feels, so that was good.

I'm really not used to skating for 90 minutes so I was really dragging the last 15 minutes or so but I think the extra time is really helping me so I'm pretty enthused about it. Once I am in better shape I'm sure it will be fine.

**I will mention this one last time and then leave it alone so as not to seem whiny. Tuesday morning Gilbert ice is good *for here*, about as good as freshly "resurfaced" Chandler coffee club ice -- but neither one is anywhere as nice as Sherwood's usual ice. Wow, I miss that ice. Soooo smooth and glassy!

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday 30-30

As usual, Monday coffee club at Chandler. Moves felt pretty good. Salchow is about the same. Toe loop a bit better, worked on it for a fair amount, it is getting a little closer. Spins -- the first one I did was pretty good, maybe because I muffed the entry a little and went slower than usual, so I got 3 revs. None of the ones after were as good, which says to me that I still need to slow myself down more on the entry.

Patch -- I had a devil of a time getting my FO edges to show up. I spent like 10 minutes just on those! What finally seemed to help was realllllly holding the free shoulder back (with real amounts of tension). That helped a lot. Worked a bit on BO and BI edges, my LBO is a bit problematic still. Then the last few minutes on FO3s.. LFO3s looked good, I tried the first part of a waltz-8 and it was good (chickened out on the step forward though). RFO3 were okay, still very skiddy and I only did 3.

Friday, January 22, 2010


8:15 FS at Chandler as usual. Crappy ice, as usual. Not crowded, as usual.

I had an okay skate -- worked on moves for half an hour or so then FS. Spins are ukky, salchow inconsistent, toe loop about the same. Bleah. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Today's figures lesson on Chandler coffee club as usual. They have started a figures class that is right before this session. I've thought about taking it (my coach, Lynne, is teaching) but the timing with regard to work is a bit problematic so I am going to stick with privates for now.

Today's lesson:
  • edges -- a lot of time on these. I am still really struggling with FO edges! When I really get things placed right it, it is sooooo good but it's such a struggle. BO edges are still a struggle too, though not as bad. FI and BI edges are in relatively good shape.
  • FO8/FI8 -- just a bit of time on these. Not surprisingly my FI8 is better than FO8 (follows my edges). I'm still not getting a good enough push most of the time though, so I am not getting around all the way except rarely.
  • FO3s -- a little bit of work on the wall and then out on the ice. LFO3 I did several that were quite nice, so I was brave and tried some RFO3s (I had never done any). I actually did several and didn't fall! I was quite shocked. They were not good, very skiddy, and I had problems holding the exit edge, but they were there.
All in all a great lesson. I am making good progress, especially when you consider that I'm doing it all in patch blades. I just need to keep up my routine and practice time and I'll get there.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time Trial

My lesson with JJ was on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual, and as usual not crowded and good ice.

Today's lesson:
  • time trial -- JJ told me he wanted to work with me periodically on speed and power (which definitely does need improvement). So he had me start at the blue line and skate a lap around the rink forward and then a lap backward without stopping. Not surprisingly I suppose I chickened out on the 2nd set of FXOs on the forward lap since I was going pretty fast. Then I chickened out on doing a mohawk at what is for me pretty high speed, so I lost some time; I was also a little confused about whether we were stopping and restarting from forward to back or just going on. So then I did the backward lap. My time was 1:37 although I think we agreed we'd call it 1:30 since I lost about 7 seconds asking how we were doing this. Not a great time but it's a benchmark from which we can improve.
  • spins -- I wish I could do these as well on my own as I do them when I'm in lesson! The biggest thing is to not rush the entry, but take my time on the step in and hooking the spin and to hold the leg/upper body back until then.
  • toe loop -- we worked on holding the R hand/shoulder back after the 3, and especially on holding the toe pick firmly in the ice and the L foot straight up so it's not blocking me from jumping. Some good improvement and I actually got an uncheated jump out of it! I'll post a picture below.
  • salchow -- these are coming along. The first few I did were not bad but then I started rushing them and that was not good. Still working on getting a feeling on the timing of this jump.
All in all a great lesson. I'm really glad we are working on speed and power since those are definitely weaknesses. After my lesson I skated the following session ('til 9) for 1.5 hours total.

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Monday, January 18, 2010


I skated coffee club at Chandler as usual for a Monday. Half an hour each in freestyle and patch. Freestyle -- spins are still yucky. Salchow not bad. I'm hoping with more practice I will start to feel some consistency and rhythm with this jump though. Toe loop -- about the same. Moves were the same. I really need to improve my BXOs though they are still pretty scratchy.

Patch, I spent a lot of time on edges and 8s. My FO edges finally after much practice got back to where they were in my last lesson -- geez! The nice surprise was doing some BO edges that were really good! Wow, that made me happy. A couple of minutes on LFO3 at the end, a fall of course and then a couple that were okay.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fun Sk8

I went out to Peoria to meet up with skate buddy Suweena. I know Suweena from Sherwood but she and her husband winter in Phoenix. We met up for lunch, then skated for about 1.5 hours. Unfortunately the ice was really bad (hockey tournament before the session and they didn't resurface) so we didn't do much. I did work on a few things, and gave Suweena some feedback on her turns and waltz jump. She's improved since the last time I saw her skate, her FXOs are much smoother and her turns have improved a lot. It was fun.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Eeyore Skate

8:15 FS at Chandler as usual. Just 6 or so skaters... but the ice was pretty crappy. Had a somewhat frustrating skate -- spins are just not happening. Salchow is not any worse, actually, but not any better, and same for toe loop. It's not so much that things were bad, just unmotivated and annoyed. I am proud that I got up and came in spite of being up late and wanting more sleep... but not a great skate. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Today's figures lesson was on the Chandler coffee club as usual. Good ice and about 6 or 7 skaters.

Today's lesson:
  • F edges -- FI edges pretty good. On the FO edges we worked on them to get me to stand up straighter, bend the knees more on the push, and keep the free hip back and up. Part of the issue was not bringing the free leg in promptly -- once I started doing this and also "tee-ing" my free foot behind my skating foot I was able to hold the FO edge much, much better. Good progress.
  • F8s -- On the FI8 I'm tending to have an issue where I'm actually trying to rotate *out* of the circle at the top of the circle -- don't know what that's about :-(. I was able to fix it in part by making myself bend my knee more at that point (when rotating). This helped a lot though it felt awkward. On the LFI8 I actually traced my second circle almost perfectly on the first one (and I wasn't even really trying)! Woo! FO8s took some work but were improved also.
  • FO3 -- we worked on these at the wall and then out on the ice. I managed to do 3 LFO3s in a row without falling! So we moved on. I need to work the RFO3s in practice.
  • BO edges -- finished up with these. Still having a lot of trouble holding the upper body still and controlling it. Needs more work!
I was really happy with this lesson, especially the 3s. It looks like getting a little more practice is really helping!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Spins, Jumps, 5-Step Mohawk

Today's lesson on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual. Good ice and only 3 skaters and 2 coaches!

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- I am still tending to bring my free side around too hard and too quickly. I managed a couple where I didn't do this and got a couple of good 2-3 rev spins. JJ also wanted to briefly look at backspins, just from a two-foot spin (Anna had me working on these a looooong time ago but I've not touched them since then). Not much success there.
  • jumps -- a couple of waltz jumps to warm up with -- the second one was really nice, good spring and a solid, held landing. JJ mentioned he'd like me to hold my landings longer for now and also practice "pretty arms" on them. Ooookay. :-) On to salchow -- it's actually coming along pretty well. I'm a bit concerned that it's now something of a spin-cow but I can't really tell. I'm only holding the exit from the 3 a couple of feet before the jump. Still the jump itself is coming along and maybe that's where I need to be. Toe loop -- about the same. Good rhythm, good spring but still cheated.
  • 5-step mohawk -- JJ had wanted to finish up with these since we haven't looked at them much. I did one side and they were pretty yucky (although I did at least finish the side) -- slow, small lobes. JJ had me work on practicing the step forward, and had me practice doing a chasse to get the feeling of bringing the free foot in to the instep.
After the lesson I stayed for the next session and worked on stuff more, so I got in a total of 1.5 hours of FS today -- yay! The second session was just me and one other skater so it was nice. I was pretty beat at the end though.

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Monday, January 11, 2010


I skated coffee club as usual, a half hour in FS and half hour in patch blades.

Freestyle -- warmed up with moves. FXO and BXO bronze patterns are looking pretty good though I still don't think I have enough power/speed. Spins -- eh. I had a couple that were not bad but none as good as my lesson last week. Salchow -- got a couple that were almost okay but I still don't feel the timing on it and I think they look pretty rough and are probably still cheated. Toe loop -- not much progress.

Patch -- my FO8 and FI8 are really stinky right now, can't usually get around. They did improve a bit though. BO and BI edges -- BI were pretty good, BO I still tend to skid. I tried one LFO3 and of course I fell. Still, I think practice is helping and I have to remind myself how little practice I get in these blades so of course it will take time.

I'm going to try to stay for the session after my lesson tomorrow, another 45 minutes of practice would help, especially to reinforce what I work on. Now that school is back in session it should be pretty quiet.

Friday, January 08, 2010


I skated the 8:15 FS this morning at Chandler. Uncrowded session but but ice was pretty bumpy and not so great. My buddy Jose was there and also a couple of other skaters I know so that was nice.

I worked half an hour on moves and half an hour on FS. For moves I spent some quality time on my 3s, working to have more control. It seems to take me several times before I can hold that FO edge before the FO3. Grrr. BXOs and FXOs were pretty good though. I'm really pleased with the pattern on the FXO perimeter stroking although I need more power.

For freestyle I worked on spins, salchow and toe loop. For toe loop I practice the RFI3 into back pivot and this is actually doable for me now (it didn't used to be). I'm pretty pleased with that. Salchow... I'm jumping at the right point, usually, but it's very rough and I don't feel a sense of timing about it yet. Spins -- not so great. Best I did was 2 revs; although I am doing a better job of hanging in with it so that is something.

This was my first week "back in the saddle" of what I'm thinking will be my routine. I skated 4 times (only 3.5 hrs though). It doesn't feel like nearly enough though. In particular I think I need at least a full hour per week of patch practice outside of lessons, and another hour of FS; good ice for patch is harder to find. I may get some time in at publics on the weekend but I don't want to count on that. I'll have to give it some thought. I am not skating Thursdays right now so that is one possibility. I need to make time to get to the gym too though.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Today's figure lesson, on coffee club at Chandler as usual. Actually they were not scheduled to have coffee club today (I missed this in the schedule) due to a Special Olympics event; but they gave us ice on the other sheet anyway.

Today's lesson:
  • F edges -- just eh. Better than last week, so thank goodness for some practice Monday. I'm still having a hard time not rotating early on the FO edges.
  • B edges -- BI still not bad, BO really stinking -- again, having a hard time holding the position and keeping the free hip up.
  • FO8/FI8 -- FI8 not too bad. FO8... grrr. Some improvement though. I really need to "re-set" myself when I start each circle and make sure I have some tension in my arms so that I can hold the plane (as I think of it), otherwise I really let that swing start and it's hard to recover from it.
  • FO3 -- I had talked with JJ about working on 3s in patch blades and he said "go for it" so we worked on these a bit on the wall. It's hard because there's very little rocker and no toepick on my patch blades, but of course I need to learn these. Anyway after some work on the wall I tried an LFO3 away from the ice and promptly fell forward after the turn, of course. Got up and tried another and actually managed to exit more-or-less cleanly! So that was a good end to the lesson.
Much to be done, I am glad I am getting more practice. Hopefully we can get past FO8/FI8 and work on waltz-8 with an actually 3 at some point in the near future.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Spins and Jumps

Today's lesson was on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual. Ice was a bit bumpy. Good session, only about 5 skaters and 3 coaches (maybe 4?).

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- JJ reminded me to not rush the entrance. I did some really good ones, including a 3.5 rev that was nicely centered! Wow! I was pretty happy with this. I'm not sure what I fixed from yesterday so I'm ascribing it to the "reverse coach effect."
  • salchow -- still a work in progress, but I made some big improvements today. JJ reminded me again to get a good entrance, a nice curve (I am doing these from the LFO3 entrance now), a good 3. I'm finally jumping at the right time, so even if the rest of the jump doesn't work (which it didn't a good chunk of the time) at least I've got that part right (*most* of the time). I noticed I am tending to come out of the jump with my R hand forward though.
  • toe loop/back pivot -- we worked on the entry for the toe loop, trying to get a better RFI3 and then into a pivot position so that I actually can draw the R foot back. JJ mentioned to me that I need to keep the picking foot upright (big toe toward the ice) and not let it flop over so the little toe is toward the ice. Duh! Can't jump from that. It was a big help.
All in all this was a really terrific lesson! Maybe it was getting some practice yesterday (duh!) but I'm really pleased with my progress.

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Monday, January 04, 2010


I skated the coffee club session today at Chandler. This was the first time in several weeks that I had a session of just plain practice and no lesson. Sheesh! I spent half an hour each on freestyle and figures.

Freestyle... it was fun to work on moves again. I tried some spins; I was keeping my leg back/out some but they still were not good. Salchow... wow, I'd not worked on these in a long time. I did one that was almost okay but most of them were pretty bad. I think I overthink this way too much. Toe loop is about where I left it.

Changed to my patch blades.... urgh. The first 20 minutes were pretty ukky. After that I was finally doing some nice inside edges, but my outsides were bad. And my pushoff, while it was a little better, still stinks. Yuk. At least I got some good work in. I'm proud of myself for that.

So the routine I am hoping to get in is practice Monday, lessons Tuesday (FS) and Wed (figures), and practice Friday. Plus some time on the weekend if I can at a public.