Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, May 31, 2010


Since I had no piano lesson for Memorial Day, I skated the 5:10 and 5:55 p.m. FS at Gilbert (1.5 hrs total).  Freshly zamm'd ice but it wasn't enough to fill in the bumps from the sticktime preceding.  Only 5 or 6 skaters tho so good conditions.

I got quite a bit of work done on the usual suspects.  My salchow seems to be MIA right now though, I couldn't get a good one at all.  I did have one pretty good nicely centered 3-rev spin but the other 20+ were pretty bad.  Bleah.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Perseverance Pt. 2

As usual I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Had a pretty good skate but my FO edges were very very frustrating today.  I know I just need to keep plugging away on 'em but really, I wonder how long it is going to take for me to consistently do good FO8s?!  Gaaaah. 


I skated the 8:15 FS at Chandler as usual.  I did NOT want to get up as I was finally getting a good night's sleep....but I did anyway. Yay for me!

Had a decent skate -- I actually did all the stuff on my practice plan (5/5/5 jumps, 21 spins) and worked a bit on my program transitions.  I actually did waltz jump/step forward/two foot/salchow!  The sal was pretty bad but still it's a start.  A few good spins and the rest stunk.  One good salchow and the rest not so, I really need to work these more but with the program coming I guess that will happen :-).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Program Choreo

Today's lesson on the 7 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Just two skaters and two coaches :-).

Today we continued working on program choreography, making some changes and roughing out the rest of the program.  We've got the first half of the program pretty much set in structure though there are refinements to be added.  So far it looks like:
  • Opening pose
  • two-foot spin
  • back pivot
  • L foot glide turned out
  • two foot transition w/arms
  • R foot glide turned out
  • R Mohawk
  • BXOs around the hockey circle
  • waltz jump
  • two foot transition to
  • salchow
  • transition w/crossed feet and arms to
  • spin
  • step forward to
  • T-stop
  • pose w/pick-in and arms
  • Push forward w/arms as music changes
The remainder of the program will include a toe loop, another spin and  a cool finish.

All in all we got a lot done.. about 2 months until Cactus and I have a lot to do as I can't do a lot of these transitions right now, though they all seem pretty doable.  After my lesson I had about half an hour so I worked on spins and doing the waltz jump at more speed... eeep.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Night Zoo

I had a free public session pass so, since I didn't skate in the a.m., I skated for an hour at the Wednesday night public session at Gilbert.  As expected, rather zoo-like.  I got there a bit before 8 and left a bit after 9.  There was actually a Z-break around 8:40, surprising since the session only runs until 9:30.

I worked a lot on spins and some jumps, but it was crowded and I was reminded why I don't skate sessions like this very often.  Not very productive, plus I was kind of tired to start with.  Oh well.

The Usual Suspects

My figures lesson with Lynne as usual.  Good ice, just 5 skaters and 3 coaches.

Today's lesson:
  • FI8 -- started with these... they were really good!  So we moved on.
  • FO8 -- These have actually improved.  Yes, they still need more control; but I am getting around the circle, generally speaking, and my circles are not wildly wrong.  More work needed, of course.
  • Waltz-8 -- these continue to (slowly) improve as well.  3s are reasonably well placed and while a bit skidded, generally okay.  Lynne had me work to not push so hard into the BO edge because I really get going and then it's hard/scary to step forward. 
No falls today!  Which is probably a first.  After my lesson I spent some time working things and played around with BXOs, which I did by accident in my patch blades last week sometime.  The CW BXOs are pretty nice and feel great (no toepick to scrape! so they are like buttah!).  CCW not so great, kinda scary.  I'm going to try to play with these more in hopes it will translate into better form in my FS blades.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


No lesson this a.m.; had a text from JJ at 6:18 (had just gotten up) that he wasn't feeling well and needed to reschedule.... so I went back to bed :-).

Skated coffee club for patch practice as usual, though I got there late and only skated for 45 minutes. Spent a LOT of time on my LFO8... it is so inconsistent!  Argh!  It's frustrating.  Still I think it is slowly improving.  I either get the edge right from the beginning or I don't.  Grr.  Also a bunch of time on waltz-8, and some BO edges -- these have really improved.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday FS Zoo

I skated the 5:10 FS at Gilbert... as is often the case it was somewhat crowded (I think 15-16 skaters and 5 or 6 coaches).

I worked most of my usual suspects, though I only did 2 salchows.  Also a little time on a program runthrough for what I have so far but it was a bit crowded so I was kinda chicken.  Oh well.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I skated coffee club at Chandler as usual.  I didn't skate yesterday or this morning since I was not feeling well, but I was feeling well enough for patch.  I was glad to be on the ice.  It was relatively crowded especially since there was a dance team working some stuff.

I had a pretty good practice.  I was a bit social, but I spent some good time on F8s... my FI8s off the bat were astonishingly good so I left them alone (really!  Good tracings and good speed, it was awesome).  FO8s continue to improve.  Most of my time was on waltz-8 and the pieces thereof.  Still working on being more decisive on the step forward and keeping the free foot close on the BO edge.  Some good progress.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Plugging Away

Figures lesson on Chandler coffee club as usual.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8s -- my LFO edge is still somewhat recalcitrant.  I have to make myself really get all the way over on the edge -- when I do it is stable, but still scary.  Grr.  RFO not so bad.  On the positive side when I get the edge from the beginning I have no problem getting around the circle.
  • Waltz-8 -- lots of time on these, and they continue to improve.  3s are good and well-placed; and I'm doing a lot better holding the exit from the 3 these days.  On the step forward, several falls today :-), I still need to keep more upright and be more decisive on the turn (and not wide-step).
Lynne said (and I agree) that I am really making good progress now.  The additional practice time I've had on patch has really helped a lot!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chander coffee club as usual for patch practice.  Nothing particularly exciting, some good work on my FO8s and waltz-8.  It's coming along slowly.  Got to skate with Marge, an old friend and judge from Tucson who was up for Stars on Ice.  I'd not skated with her in a lonnnnng time.  She's awesome.  I pray I can skate like that when I am her age (she's old enough to be my mom).

Program Choreo Pt. 1

My freestyle lesson in my new timeslot, on the 7 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Good ice although there was a cone in the south goal area due to a hole, and I had noticed last night the ice was thin there :-(

For today's lesson we began working on the choreography for my program.  We got through only perhaps 20-30 seconds.  Here's a summary of what we have so far:
  • Beginning pose (we went back and forth on this so it's not firm)
  • Back pivot (might become a spin later)
  • Forward pivot
  • L foot glide, then feet together w/arms
  • R foot glide
  • Mohawk, then BXOs around the hockey circle
  • Into a waltz jump at speed
That's as far as we got, though we spent a fair amount of time discussing various issues that needed discussing.  JJ said he would like 3 jumps and 3 spins in this program.  That last part, the waltz jump at speed... eep.  I am going to really have to work on that since I did like 4 BXOs around the hockey circle and I was flying (well, for me anyway) and I've never jumped at that kind of speed.  Eeep.

Anyway, we have a lot to do but we have more than 2 months so I'm not worried.  I am going to work on some of these elements between now and next week anyway so it's not like I'm sitting around waiting for choreography.

In other news, after the session Uyen went and looked again and found my missing CD case and notebook... YAY!  I was really happy.

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Monday, May 17, 2010


I skated the 5:10 p.m. FS at Gilbert today.  Unlike the last time I skated this session, it wasn't toooo crowded -- I think 8 skaters and 4 coaches.  I worked mostly on spins and got a few almost-okay ones.  I have noticed I am stepping "back the way I came" more than I used to.  I'm not sure where that came from but since every coach I've ever had has asked me to do it I guess it is a good thing!  A few waltz jumps and some moves and a salchow and toe loop for the rest of the time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Perseverance Pt. II

Patch practice at Chandler coffee club as usual.  A bit busy today, 12 skaters and one coach.  There was a huuuuge school group in before and despite the quickie Zam break the ice was a bit rough.

FI8s were okay, nowhere near as nice as Wednesday :-(.  FO8s a bit rough, I spent a lot of time on them; toward the end I was getting a much better edge (esp. LFO).  A bunch of time on waltz-8, 3s are improving but step forward still rough.  I need to stand up straighter on the BO edge.

I bought an annual pass for Chandler today.  They are $395 for adults, and they are good for public sessions and adult skate.  Since I am skating 3x/week at coffee club it should pay for itself in about 22 weeks, so it's a good deal.  I was a little concerned that my work schedule might change and impact my skating time but I decided even if it dropped to 2x/week it would still be worth it so I went ahead.


I skated the 8:15 FS this morning at Chandler as usual.  Had a decent skate; worked on the transition stuff JJ asked me to do.  It took me a while to re-figure-out the mohawk sequence; after that it's okay.  The 3s are not too bad if I don't let them get too swingy.   I worked the R lunge on the wall and tried one on the ice (not good).  Worked a bunch on spins, got a couple of okay ones.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Program Prep

Today's lesson (rescheduled from Tuesday since I was out of town), on the a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual.  I was feeling kind of off today, it took a while to get my L boot tied correctly and I seem to have lost my water bottle and I didn't have any money with me for water.  Grrr.

Today's lesson:
  • Program for Cactus -- JJ and I talked about this briefly.  I'm just going to do the Pre-Bronze freeskate.  In all likelihood I'll get lumped in with the other men since there are so few of us, but that's okay.  JJ wanted to work today on some things he wants me to practice for connecting steps and transitions.
  • 3-turns -- this is just an FO3 quickly followed by a step forward and FO3 on the other foot.  I am a bit too swingy on these.
  • Mohawks -- this is an FI mohawk, BXO, step forward to the other foot and repeat on that foot.  Continue alternating.  These went somewhat better once I really understood what he wanted.
  • Lunges -- as usual L foot not bad, R foot bad.... so I have to work on the R foot one.
  • Waltz jump -- JJ wanted me to go in with more speed, so I did... eep.  I slowed these down for a reason, my takeoff and form aren't so great at speed.  Gotta work on that too....
  • Salchow --  some more work on these (I was lacking in enthusiasm).  JJ wants me to hold the free foot/arm back after the 3 (Anna told me to do this like 5 years ago!  Geez!).  It's hard.
And that was all we had time for!

Since Gilbert has changed their FS schedule (presumably for the summer) we are going to change our usual timeslot for lessons from 7:45 a.m. Tuesday to 7:15 a.m. Tuesday...*sigh*.  I'd whine more but I still have fresh in my mind that my homegirls back at SIA are up and workin' it earrrrrly every a.m. so I should just suck it up! :-)

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Today's figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  The figures class Lynne teaches right before was delayed so I had a good 10-15 minutes of warmup time with the (freshly-Zammed) ice to myself -- nice!

Today's lesson:
  • FI8 -- we decided to start with these and O MY GOD!  I did the best FI8s I have EVER done. Of the 6 circles, all but the last one on the R foot were near-flawless, good push, had no trouble getting around and the tracings were separated by 4" or less.  WOW.  I was SO happy I could have just died, it felt so awesome!  The last one on the R foot was slightly wonky, I had a small balance issue at the start but still pretty good.  I don't know where that came from but it was awesome!
  • FO8 -- so of course we moved on to these.  Not nearly as good as the FI8s of course but not too bad, I was getting around the circle just fine and circle size was pretty good but I am tending to not fill out the 2nd half of the circle very well.
  • Waltz-8 -- these are improving also.  The FO3 is not bad albeit a bit skidded esp. on the R foot.  The step forward is improving, I only fell 3 or 4 times and most of the time I make it but I'm usually stepping to an FI edge instead of FO (sometimes a flat).  It's getting better though.
The FI8s today were such a good feeling... I will treasure that.  It's a welcome reminder of why I like this sport so much.   That feeling of perfection that is so rare!  Awesome.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I'm back home in Chandler and skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.  I had a pretty good practice, about half an hour on FO8/FI8, some time on BO edges, and waltz-8.  I've noticed that now that I am getting a lot more time in my patch skates, I really feel a lot more comfortable in them and really enjoy my practice time.  Good stuff!

Monday, May 10, 2010


I am still in Oregon, so I skated the morning public session at Shiny Rink for an hour.  The ice was lovely and only about 5 skaters and one coach.  I made myself do about 4 salchows, the last was reasonably okay.  I worked on spins a bunch but only got one that was almost-decent.  Worked on moves a bit since it wasn't crowded; it felt good to get some speed.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Saturday Zoo

I skated the afternoon public at Shiny Rink with skate buddy Amy, just for an hour.  I hadn't skated a public session in a while... this was not too crowded (it was a stunningly nice day outside).  Still, it was hard to get much done.  I worked mostly on spins and some small moves.  I did get a couple of decent spins, so that made it worthwhile.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Club Skate, Or, Skatin' Wit Da Homies Pt. II

I skated the Sherwood FSC club skate.  I had so much fun!  Got to see many of the homies that I didn't see this morning... Alee, Madison, Quanah, Casey, Bree, Sierra, Megan, Cesca, Amy and Kennedy.  It was a lot of fun.  I also worked some more on my salchow and spins.  Not a real serious session but lots of fun and great to see everyone. 

7th Skativersary!

Today is my 7th Skativersary!  7 years ago today I first set foot on the ice (really!) for my first lesson.  Wow!  What a long strange trip it's been, as the song goes.

It's kind of hard to describe my feelings on this.  Skating means so much to me!  It is often hard for non-skaters to understand, although I imagine many people who are into some sport or activity get attached in a similar way.  The feeling of skating a good edge at speed, or of a well-done jump, the adrenalin rush of doing something scary, or falling and realizing you are perfectly all right.... the cold wind in your face.... skating with some good music.  It's amazing.

When I started skating I wanted something to do that would be fun, and good exercise, and I think I had vague notions about wanting to skate forward and backward.  As so many others have experienced, after a while as you learn new things you get hooked and you want to do more... and more... and more!

Unlike some people I've known, skating has not generally come easily to me.  It has required a lot of effort, a lot of practice, and a lot of patience.  I have learned a lot from skating!  I've learned how to work hard day in and day out at something that was difficult, that required endurance and determination and perseverance.  I think that I have been fortunate in that I've rarely thought "I could never do that."  I have tried hard to avoid comparing myself to others, and just concentrate on what I could do and my goals.

I have been really privileged to meet some amazing, awesome, fun, kind, smart, caring people as a result of skating.  Skaters, of course -- but also skater moms and dads, coaches, club volunteers, officials, and others.  So many I could never hope to list them all, really.  You know who you are and I am very grateful for your love and friendship!

I've been especially blessed to have some amazing coaches -- Anna, Lucy, Sonya, Kelli, and now JJ and Lynne.  A good coach is gold!  It's such an intimate relationship -- a coach sees your struggles, your highs and lows, your crabby and cranky days, your exuberance, your falls, your successes.  In some ways for adult skaters especially, since the coach-skater relationship can potentially go on for a long, long time.  Thanks to my coaches for all their understanding, caring, determination, and hard work!

For the next year I have a lot of goals --
  • Pass Adult Pre-Bronze freestyle test
  • Compete at Cactus Classic (July)
  • Compete at the 2nd All-Figures Competition in August.
  • Pass Adult Bronze Moves
  • Solidify salchow, de-cheat the toe loop, and learn another jump
  • Solidify my spins
Other goals that are less definite are to take the Preliminary Figures test and to compete at the Sherwood Invitational in late August.

Wow!  that's a lot to do... I'd better get to work :-).

Skatin' Wit Da Homies!

I am in Oregon for work and a short vacation.  I skated the early morning FS at Sherwood (on the ice from 6:20 - 7:20) so I could see some of my homegirls that can't come to club sk8 tonight.  Got a good night's sleep and felt very awake and alive (what a welcome change! :-).  When I got to Sherwood, Kelli, Karly, Emmy, Mickey and Danielle all came off the ice to say hi and give me a hug!  It was very heartwarming :-).  Definitely worth getting up early for!

I had a pretty good skate... some socializing of course but also some good work on my spins and some moves and a couple of salchows.  I had some pretty good spins but they are still being inconsistent.

Sherwood, Sherwood, Sherwood!  How I've missed your ice!  It is SO nice. *sigh*

Skating tonight at club and tomorrow at public session.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

F8s & Waltz-8

Figures lesson with Lynne on coffee club as usual.   The figures class beforehand ran long so they started us on the other sheet, then came back to the "North Pole" after 5-10 minutes.

Today's lesson:
  • F8s -- I described to Lynne the progress I'd made yesterday on my FO edges.  First we did some FI8s and they were pretty good, I was getting around the circle and despite some initial balance issues (I was still warming up) the circle size was good.  We moved on to FO8s and these were also much improved.  I still had some issues with my upper body position etc. but that improved with practice.  I was also doing well at tracing the previous print so that was good.
  • Waltz-8 -- we warmed up for this by working on just the step forward, then went to work on the whole move.  These have definitely improved.  I'm doing a better job of keeping the free foot close before and after the step forward and being more decisive.  My 3s are also getting a bit better and the pattern is starting to improve.  I still have a lot of work to do to get the pattern to be where it needs to be but I'm seeing some light.  Yay!
I'm really jazzed about my progress, it seems that between more practice time and the work on my boots and blades I am really making headway finally.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Edge Progress

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.  I had a pretty good practice although I was a bit social so not as much time on task as I should have had.  I seem to have improved my FO edges though!  Working on FO8s and FO edges I am getting right to a good edge from the get-go most of the time now.  I was really happy with this!  On the down side I'm still not getting a good enough push to get around on the FO8 (FI8 is about 50-50, geez).  I spent some time on waltz-8 and the step forward, no breakthroughs, just trying to get more comfy.


Today's lesson was on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert... only I found out after I got there that it's actually now the 7:45.  They changed the times around, adding another 45 min of FS every morning (6:15 - 9:15).  Also we were on the "South Pole" this morning for some reason.  It's okay it actually is nicer ice (it's softer figure skating ice, not the hard hockey ice on the other side).

Today's lesson:
  • F8 pattern -- I was looking at these when JJ got on the ice so of course that's where we started.  We spent some time working on the transition from the LFO8 to the RFI8.  So weird!  It basically means you don't rotate your arms on the LFO8.
  • Practice review -- JJ had wanted to look at my practice notebook so we did.  He would like me to up my jump practice a little bit from 5 each to 6 or 7 each.  Other than that he thought it was good.
  • Program early prep -- we spent some time discussing my program for Cactus.  We played the cut I had prepared for last year's program that I didn't get to use -- I'd forgotten what a cool piece it is, although the last part is very fast and dramatic and will be challenging.  JJ liked the brass.  I gave him the CD to take home and listen to.
  • Spins -- we finished up on these... a couple of okay ones.  
After my lesson I skated about another half hour, and spent some time on moves since I had the ice to myself after 8:15 or so.  I was kind of tired though so I left about 8:50 -- kind of unusual for me.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Monday FS Zoo!

I didn't skate this morning so I escaped to the 5:10 p.m. FS at Gilbert -- they just added this session.  It was pretty crowded (I think I counted 18 skaters and like 8 coaches including JJ).  I worked through my list as best I could but since it was only 45 minutes I only managed 20 spins, 5 waltz jumps 4 toe loops and 3 salchows.

I did get a couple of spins that were pretty good, including a pretty nicely centered 3-rev one that felt awesome.  This was very encouraging :-).  The first two salchows were pretty good (esp. the first), the 3rd I was kind of rushed and didn't hold the exit of the 3 hardly at all and wound up falling on the landing. Oh well. Waltz jumps felt really nice, I am being more consistent and getting better spring.