Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My figures lesson with Lynne, Chandler coffee club as usual.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- bleah.   Okay, not actually that bad.  LFO is still a bit of a problem. RFO not too bad.  I did manage to make my circles match, and they were only slightly too large. I keep meaning to bring my scribe for practice but I keep forgetting and I need to work with it at home to get it set correctly.
  • BO edges -- RBO nice as usual.  LBO... argh.  This is one of my problem areas and it's not getting better particularly quickly.
  • FO3s --  Actually not too bad.  LFO3 was nice, RFO3 not bad although I need to set a better edge on the entry.
  • Step forward -- we worked on these for a while.  I only fell twice!  The LBO is pretty scary and weird.
  • Waltz-8 -- so we put it all together and worked on the waltz-8.  The left side was actually not too bad until the last LFO which was really a flat.  I need to improve my step forward so that I'm on an actual outside edge.  Since this is one of my longstanding problems it's not surprising and this is the perfect opportunity to work on it. The right side we only did a couple of times as the step forward was still a problem.
I'm planning on competing in the all-figures competition in Portland in August, so I really need to get some of this stuff working.  Well, I have 4 months and I couldn't even do some of this stuff until recently so I guess there is progress.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Best Spin Yet!

Here it is.  Entry from the right.  I drew little arrows this time to show the path!

Spins & BO3 Prep

Today's lesson w/JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual.  This was a terrific skate!

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- we spent more than half our lesson this.  After 3 or 4 spins I got the BEST SPIN YET!!  I'll post a picture later.  JJ insisted that I take a picture of the print because it was really, really good -- much better than last week.  4 revs mostly centered!  And I stayed with it until I lost speed.  YAY!!  Of course the ones I did after were not as good :-(.  I was very excited.
  • BO3 prep -- at my request.  We worked into doing a back 2-foot turn on the hockey circle.  I had done these with Sonya before, I believe, but wow they are a lot easier now.
  • Speed trial -- we were actually over time (the 7:30 session was over) but JJ stayed a little longer and since we had the ice to ourselves he asked me to do a speed trial.  Instead of doing a lap, though, he had me skate an oval/figure 8 pattern around the ends and through the middle of the ice and around, first forward and then backward.  I did okay (we didn't time it) although when it came time to do FXOs on my not-so-good side at speed I chickened out :-(.   
After my lesson I stayed through the following session (until 9) and worked on a bunch of stuff.  Since I had the ice to myself I worked on the BXO to BO pattern from Bronze moves... not bad actually.  I did this several times and it has really improved a lot.  Also did a lot more spins, a few jumps, some power-3s, waltz-8, and some FO8/FI8 since they will be on the Bronze moves in September.  

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bonus Sk8

Chandler had some oddly-scheduled FS time this evening so I took advantage and got an hour's worth in.  Quality time on jumps and spins and a little bit of time on moves also.  I got some good spins!  Jumps were kinda sucky though.  Oh well.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Perseverance Pt. 2

Second half of the double header, an hour of patch.  Arrrrggghhh!  I spent a good 20 minutes on LFO8.  My LFO edge just... really, really stinks.  Gaaah.  Went on to FO3s (okay) then to working on my LBO for about, seriously, 15 minutes.  I made some progress but it's very inconsistent.  Then some time working on waltz-8.  Considering the limitations of what I'd been working on it was okay.


The new practice schedule calls for a double-header on Fridays -- FS in the a.m. and patch at lunch.  The FS schedule at Chandler is wacky this weekend due to a hockey tournament (hey, at least we got some ice!).  I skated for 45 minutes on the 8:45.  Mostly worked on jumps and spins.  A couple of good spins, a decent salchow and no good toe loops at all.   I find it amusing and surprising that my salchow is now better than my toe loop, but that's the way things go sometimes.  Oh well.  Also some good work on waltz-8, I am doing a better job of holding the 3-turn exit but still not holding the BO edge long enough. Hmm. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday Spin

Here's a pic of the spin from Tuesday a.m.:
Entry is from the right, it's a little hard to tell but the hook (3-turn) created the 2nd circle from the right (not the first). (Click on the picture to see a bigger version)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today's figures lesson on coffee club at Chandler.  We were over on the "South Pole" sheet.  Usually we are on the "North Pole".  I skate on the "North Pole" at Gilbert as well.  Amusingly enough the "North Pole" rink at Gilbert is on the right (west) side of the building but the left (east) side at Chandler.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- these continue to be a problem.  I had some good ones but I struggle with setting a good edge from the beginning, and being careful to "re-set" before each new circle.  And of course my pushes are still inadequate.
  • FO3s -- not too bad actually.  They are getting more confident.
  • step-forward -- (BO mohawk) --- from the RBO these are not too bad.  From the LBO -- eep!  Since my LBO is a bit weak anyway the step forward is problematic.  Nevertheless I managed a few, and of course several falls.
  • waltz-8 -- since we had done all the pieces we put 'em together and tried a few waltz-8s.... well, a lot of work is needed! I need to hold the exit from the 3 a lot longer, and I need to step forward onto a real FO edge.  Longtime readers will recognize that most of my problems in skating are encapsulated in the waltz-8, so the good news is that by working on this I'm attacking most of my skating problem areas.
All in all a pretty good lesson, I was pretty happy with what we accomplished.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Today's FS lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Before my lesson JJ handed me some info on fitness, warmups, stretching etc.  He wants to work out a plan for me so that I can be working on what I need to do to be stronger and more flexible etc.  Cool stuff!

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- in the APBM pattern.  Not too bad, JJ reminded me to keep the arms on the circle.
  • BXOs -- similar.  The CCW ones have gotten a little less scratchy, which is encouraging.  JJ worked with me on the wall to talk about arm position and really opening the chest  and keeping the leading hand/arm up.
  • BO edges -- deja vu from my figures lesson on Friday!  Actually these are not too bad, even the LBO felt better.  We did work some more on (what else?) keeping the free foot in front.
  • BI edges -- as usual, not too bad.  
And that was that.  I'm not sure where the time went today, it seemed like there was more but that's all I can remember :-(.  After my lesson I skated the next session and worked on moves (5-step and power-3s), waltz-8, jumps and spins. I did a really nice spin!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Pluggin' Away

My figures lesson with Lynne for this week.  I have been ill so I postponed until today.  Still a bit sniffly, but as I've often found, even when I feel like crap I can often skate reasonably well..

Today's lesson:
  • FO edges -- these are actually improving.  Still need to work on posture and finding a good edge immediately.
  • F8s -- FO8s were not bad.  I managed to make my circle size a bit more reasonable than it has sometimes been :-), which made it a lot more reasonable to get all the way around.  FI8s not bad either.
  • BO edges -- LBO is still an issue.  We worked on them for quite a while.  I actually managed once (ONCE, lol) to actually get all the way over my skate the way I do on the RBO.  Wow, it was great.  Then I went up on my toe and fell, lol.  Still, I know what it feels like.
  • FO3s -- These are doing okay.  I am a lot more confident on them than I used to be.  Still need more work but not too bad.
After my lesson I just stayed for a few minutes, and worked on waltz-8 a bit.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spins & Jumps

FS lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- worked on these first since I was so excited about my progress.  The keys seem to be the ones I'm already working -- hold the R arm/shoulder/leg back until after the hook and just let it come.  I did a 3-rev that wasn't bad (though not centered at all) and a few others that were almost as good (and several that were not good, of course).  I'm really excited about my progress.
  • waltz jump -- working to clean up some sloppiness that has crept in here as I'm tending not to come straight off the toepick (my R side is coming around too soon).  Some progress on this, it's all about the setup.
  • salchow -- I had done a couple nice ones during my warmup so of course I couldn't do a good one to save my life.  We worked on being more comfortable on the LFI edge before the jump so I don't rush it (JJ wants me to have a 3-count entrance before the turn AND a 3-count after the turn before the jump).  Made some progress on this and also being sure to have a nice curve and edge into the 3.
We had hoped to work on moves but it didn't happen today, so presumably next week.  It's spring break and they were having a skating camp so I didn't stay.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday 30-30

I skated coffee club at Chandler.  I had intended to not skate this session anymore as it conflicts with the Pilates class at my gym, but I didn't make it to skate this a.m. so there I was.

Patch went okay, as usual my LFO is pretty awful for a while.  Worked quite a while on FO8/FI8 just to get back to where I was last week.  Grr.  Worked on BO edges... these are just HUUUGE.  Geez.  And a few minutes on FO3s (not bad, actually) and step forward (bleah).

Freestyle... did a couple of salchows that were NOT BAD!  Timing was actually pretty good, it's a weird feeling.  There's not much "jump" there yet though.  Toe loop -- bleah, still badly cheated.  A couple of really nice waltz jumps.  Spins -- I did several that were pretty good!!  Didn't take any pictures this time, but several where I actually found and held onto the sweet spot (briefly).  I was pretty pleased!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

8s, 3s & Step Forward

Figures lesson on Chandler coffee club as usual.  About 5 skaters and one coach... ice was good though a bit bumpy in places :-(.

Today's lesson:
  • F8s -- We started with the FO8s.  I had had about 10 minutes to warm up (yay!) so actually not that bad.  I'm getting a better push.  Still some issues with the LFO8 and my circles were waaaay too big.  FI8s were fairly decent.
  • FO3s -- just a few minutes on these.  They were not too bad.  We worked on trying to make the 3s less scrapy and improve the check.  My RFO3 check is much, much better than LFO3.  Not sure why that is.  Hmmm.
  • Step forward -- still working on these (BO Mohawk).  A lot of improvement, though I did fall 3 times :-).  The patch blades really force me to keep my feet close and not try to push from the (non-existent) toepick.  Some good improvement.
All in all a pretty good lesson and some good improvement.  I'm aiming to compete at the all-figures competition in Portland in August so I have a lot of work to do.  Ideally I'd like to do more than just FO8/FI8 but we'll see.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Moves & Spins

Freestyle lesson w/JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I went to my first Pilates class in a lonnnnng time on Monday and I was (and am) pretty sore, so not my best skate.

Today's lesson:
  • Power pulls -- just a little more prep work on these, slaloming forward and backward around the rink.  I feel like I'm sticking my tush out too much on the backward ones but JJ says it's okay.
  • BXOs to landing position -- we hadn't looked at these in a while and I wanted a refresher on the pattern.   It's just as well, because I was thinking the BXO was supposed to go at the top of the lobe but JJ says the BXO edge should *start* at the top of the lobe, so the BXO is earlier.  Hmm.  We worked on these for a little while.  Not surprisingly considering how my BO edges are coming for patch, my LBO is not so great, I tend to be up on my toe.  We worked on this a bit, trying to stay turned into the circle more and pushing into the middle of the blade.  This helped quite a bit.
  • Spins -- I told JJ I would really like to actually be able to spin by the time my 7 year skativersary rolls around in May :-).  Considering how I was feeling it was just okay, though at the very end I did a pretty nice 2-rev spin.
After my lesson I didn't stay as I usually do, I was too sore and out of sorts :-(.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sunday Zoo

I didn't get to skate Friday due to some car issues, so I skated the Sunday public at Gilbert.  Fairly crowded but not unbearably so.  I never skate on that ice since FS sessions are on the other sheet; it seems nicer.  Since it was crowded I spent most of my time on jumps and spins.  I did get a couple of pretty nice spins and many that were not -- considering how distracted I was though I think it was okay.    Hoping to skate tomorrow morning before work.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

New Template

Okay, I updated to a new template... I had not changed this stuff since I started this blog more than 6 years ago!  So it's a little rough now.  I saved my links etc. from before and I'll restore some/most of them when I get a free moment.

Slogging Through

Figures lesson at Chandler coffee club as usual. I was pleased to see my sk8 buddy Bob up from Tucson!

Today's lesson:
  • F edges -- FOs are still a bit sloppy. FIs not bad. Lynne always catches me right when I get on the ice (almost) so I am always warming up during my lesson. I don't know if it's on purpose or not, I expect it is.
  • B edges -- LBO is still wonky but slightly better. RBO is soooo much better. BI edges pretty good.
  • FI8s -- I did a better job of making my circles about the right size. These were mostly okay.
  • FO8s -- a big time investment on these. LFO8 took most of our time... finally started getting a good edge from the start, which works a lot better than trying to fix it after I've started. RFO8 is better.
And that's all we had time for today! Geez. After my lesson I worked on my FO3s and then also step forward (so a mini-Waltz-8). I fell twice on the step forward -- I am tending to lean forward which is not recoverable in patch blades :-). When I actually get my body turned to continue in the same direction it works soooo much better!

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

XOs & Spins

FS lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert, as usual.

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- JJ wanted to look at these so we did... in the Moves pattern. Not too bad but lacking in speed and power. JJ said form was good.
  • BXOs -- as usual, rather scratchy on the CCW side. JJ reminded me to keep the arm/shoulder pulled back and to look where I'm going. I really need to work on these, I tend to do them once and move on but I should spend some time de-scratching.
  • Spins -- once more into the breach! Actually, I did several that were not bad and one 3-rev spin so I guess I am making some progress after all, even if it's agonizingly slow. We had some discussion about where I should be looking in the windup; in the past I've been told to look back (to my R) but I realized I was not doing that anymore. So I put that back in; the result was that my BI edge was much, much more secure and I could push off it pretty well into the FO edge. The rest was pretty much as usual.
  • Backspin prep -- JJ had me work on the entrance, just feeling the 3 and bringing in L foot close in. We did this on the blue line a bit and then more extensively at the boards. I think I have a feel for it but I'm curious how I'm going to get past the fear of having my feet that close together (crossed!). Hmm...
  • Jumps -- in the last 2 minutes or so I did a waltz jump, salchow and toe loop. Waltz jump okay, salchow was late on the jump but felt good otherwise, toe loop still cheated but otherwise okay.
After my lesson I stayed for the following session, just myself and one other skater. Worked on my spins (got one more good one and several not so), a bunch of time on power-3 and 5-step mohawk and other stuff as well.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Monday 30-30

Today's practice at Chandler coffee club as usual. Patch half hour -- worked on FO8s a lot. They are improving I just wish I didn't have to spend so much time on them. Still working to improve my push. Grrr. Spent the last few minutes on BO edges (LBO still stinks badly) and 3s. No falls today!

Freestyle -- some time on moves -- my power 3s will need lots more work to be testable. Grr. Salchow and toe loop -- bleah. Spins -- I did get a couple nice ones and several not so nice. Still I think there is some progress.

I've been informed there will indeed be another All-Figures competition in Portland, it's tentatively scheduled for August 7th and 8th. I'm going to compete I think.