Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, October 29, 2010


I skated Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice today.  Had a good skate, worked on FO8s, BO8, BI8, 3s, and waltz-8. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I had a work meeting cancelled, so I took the opportunity to skate the Chandler coffee club in my freestyle skates for once!  I had a pretty good skate!  Worked a lot on spins and got a 4-rev and several 3-rev spins, although I noticed as the hour went on they weren't as good -- presumably I got a bit tired.

I also worked on the FXO-BXO pattern for the APB FS test that JJ and I worked out this week and came to the crux of the matter... after skating the FXOs I am going so fast that I'm too scared to do the LFI mohawk to do the BXOs!  Grrr.  I worked a little on trying to do the mohawk from more speed than usual (though not as fast as I was going in the pattern).  Uck!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FO8s & FO3s

Today's figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  Good ice and 8 - 10 skaters and 2 coaches.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8s -- still working these.  Maybe some slight improvement, mostly trying to be more consistent.
  • FO3s -- I told Lynne I'd like to spend some time just working on improving my FO3s as they are not so great and I need to improve them both for the Bronze Moves test and also for my waltz-8s.  So we spent the bulk of the lesson just working on improving my 3s.  The biggest corrections were to hold the free hip back before the turn (I tend to bring it around to force the turn) and to wait after the rotation of the arms (rotate skinny) before turning.  After a bit of work I actually was able to make some definite improvements.
All in all I think I got a lot out of this lesson.  Afterward I spent some time working on BO8s, BI8s and then some waltz-8, with emphasis on the FO3.  I was able to hold the exit longer which made the BO a lot better.  Good stuff!

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I skated coffee club at Chandler for patch practice as usual.  I had not gotten to skate in my patch blades for over a week... eeep!  Still I have to say it doesn't take me nearly as long to get comfortable in them as it used to... yay me!

I worked on all the usual suspects -- FO8s (eh), waltz-8 (eh), BO8 and BI8.  I spent some time just working on BO edge and stepping forward.  I really am not getting quite turned all the way.  I'm not sure how to fix this :-(.  Lesson tomorrow!

APB FS Test Elements

Today's lesson on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert, as usual.  Good ice and not crowded.  I got to see skate buddies Trevor and Megan as they were leaving, and Nikki had her lesson the same time as me.  Cool :-).

Today's lesson was a review of all the elements on the APB FS test (not in order though):
  • Lunge -- these are fine, but we worked a little bit on trying to pick up the dragging foot without scraping the toepick.  Grrr.  JJ says I need to put more weight on the skating foot to do this.  It will take some work.
  • Two foot spin -- These are pretty good once I warm them up (note to self).  JJ suggested getting more rotation in the shoulders before the spin (like a whirlwind, he said).
  • One foot spins -- I did a REALLY good one as JJ was getting on the ice (4 revs! mostly centered!) but none as good later.   JJ reminded me to keep working on holding the free leg back on the step forward, letting the spin develop, and working to open up more.
  • Salchow -- these are not bad.  JJ wants me to not rush, let the 3 happen naturally, and to work on keeping the free hip up after the 3, just before the jump.
  • Waltz jump -- I did one of these by accident when we were working on salchows.  It's fine :-)
  • XOs -- we practiced doing these in a pretty basic pattern, starting on the red line, 3 strokes to the center (L, R,L) then into the FXOs to the left (4 XOs), back to center, LFI mohawk (eeep) into the BXOs to the right, finish into landing position, step forward, T-stop.  This will take some practice!  JJ wants me to get some speed on the initial steps so that I have some speed going in.  I'm having to make these circles pretty big (going past the blue line) and then had some issues doing the mohawk at that speed (that's my kinda-crappy side for mohawks, I need to clean them up).  It'll be fine but it will definitely help to practice.
All in all I feel pretty good about this.  I'm supposed to test 1/8 in Peoria.  I need some practice on the two-foot spin and on the XO pattern, but the main thing is the 1-foot spin.

I need to find some mantra or other relaxation technique I think.  I know my problem with my spins is that I'm too tense and anxious.  In spite of that, sheer repetition has helped a lot -- I can keep myself from bailing out on questionable spins a lot more often now than I could before.  I need to relax and just let them flow and it's a hard thing for me.  Very frustrating.  :-(

After my lesson I stayed and skated the next session, just me and one other skater & coach.  Nice.

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Monday, October 25, 2010


I skated the 5:10 FS at Gilbert this evening.  Had a decent skate, though I was pretty tired and bit sore from Pilates at lunchtime today.  Did my regimen of spins and jumps. Spins were about the same, got a couple of okay ones and many that were not :-(.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

TFSC Club Skate

I was down in Tucson for the weekend and TFSC actually had ice available at TCC, yay!  So I skated for an hour w/my fellow club members.  Nothing exciting.  I did get one good spin, the rest not so great.  Hmmph.  Also worked on jumps and power-3s.

Here's a pic of the session:

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I was in Oregon for work and managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of skating.  Sonya was kind enough to squeeze me into her schedule, so I had a lesson with her at 6:30 a.m. (I skated from 6 - 8 a.m.).  Not too crowded at all (I think 4 or 5 skaters tops) and Sherwood's beautiful ice (really, it is beautiful).

We spent our lesson working on spins.  We started off doing some two-foot spins for review.  Then I did a couple of one-foot spins, and Sonya had me do two different exercises to work on problem areas.  The first (one I've done before) was to do a two-foot spin and pick the R foot up.  The second (new to me) was to do a hockey glide into the spin.  I'd tried that before a long time ago but never managed it before.  I did make it this time though -- I find it challenging to bend my knees that much.  Anyway we made some great progress!  I had a couple of 4-rev spins and more that were 3 rev, and much more solid.  I think the main differences were that I was bending my skating knee more on the step forward and especially that Sonya had me working on extending the L arm more on the step forward, while still standing up straight.  There's more to do but I am REALLY excited by my progress!

Here are two videos Sonya took for me:

This one is not quite as good maybe:

After my lesson I had another hour to skate.  I also got to enjoy the company of several of my SIA homies -- Madison, Casey, and Sierra (Karly was there earlier also).  I worked on spins some more and was able to do several other good ones.  Yay!

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Ice

I skated for an hour this morning at Chandler's FS.  The ice was pretty crappy (obviously not zammed since the night before) but as JJ says "ice is ice"...

I was feeling a bit tired and out of sorts but did manage to do at least 5 of every jump, about 15 spins, some two-foot spins, a couple of waltz-sal sequence, and some moves.

Friday, October 15, 2010

FO8, BO8, Waltz-8

Today's figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  It was a bit crowded today!  Something like 10 skaters and 2 coaches (for coffee club, that's a crowd!).

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- Just a little time on these.  A smidge better than last week.  I'm doing a better job of bringing my free foot in promptly after the push.  Still need to work on getting a little more push, though -- today I had a hard time getting around the circle :-(.
  • BO8 --these are slowly improving.  I actually am doing better on the LBO8 finally, it's coming back to center more of the time.  I still need to work on leaning into the circle on the 2nd half though.
  • Waltz-8 -- these were a smidge better.  Still need to work more on the step forward, to turn more, set a better edge and not lean out of the circle.  The FO3s were inconsistent -- some quite nice and others rather skidded.
No lesson next week as I'll be out of town.

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Managed to skate for an hour this morning at Chandler.  Actually decent ice and only 3 skaters and one coach for most of that time!  I had not skated a morning session at Chandler in quite a while and I've not gotten much skating in this last couple of weeks or so so it was good to get on the ice.

I ran through all my jumps 5+ times and did a couple of waltz-sal sequences.  I did a bunch of spins but only got a couple (toward the end) that were decent.  Hmm.  And some work on moves etc. since it was not too crowded.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spins & 3s

Today's lesson on the 5:10 FS at Gilbert -- we moved it due to my and JJ's scheduling issues :-).  Fairly crowded, I think there were 15 skaters and 6 coaches.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- about 10 minutes on these.  Geez.  We mostly worked on (duh) holding the free leg back and let the spin develop.  I don't know why I cannot just let this happen, other than my usual sorts of issues.  Grr.
  • 3s -- I was complaining to JJ how my power-3s stink so we spent like 20 minutes just working on 3s.  I think we got some improvement though.  Mostly we worked on holding the free shoulder back and not allowing it to block the rotation, and really tucking the free foot in (instead of my usual tactic of using it to help me turn).
In other news it looks like I will be testing APB Freestyle 1/8.  I would have liked earlier but the only test dates were the end of October (too soon) and the weekend of 12/4, when I will be out of town.  Grrr.  That's very close to PCAS, which means that I probably can't get my new boots until AFTER that  which is a long time to wait.  Oh well.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Ice

Chandler has Sunday FS this month so I managed to get an hour in before church today.  Pretty decent ice and only like 3 skaters and one coach.

My skate was a mixed bag.  My spins were just not happening... on the positive side I did a bunch of jumps, including 2 waltz-salchow sequences.  They were actually not that hard.  I also worked on my 2-foot spin and managed to get several good ones.  Then some time on moves and... wow, I really need to work on my 3s they are just not so great these days.  Oh well.  Lesson tomorrow (moved from Tuesday).

Friday, October 08, 2010


I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.  I got there late due to a work meeting, but did manage to get a whole hour of practice in.

I had a pretty good skate!  Spent about half an hour on FO8s, and saw some improvements so I wanted to cement it as much as possible.  Not getting around the whole circle on LFO8 (what's up with that) but the position felt right so I went with it.  Worked on waltz-8 quite a bit also, the R side was better L side still stinky.  And finished up with some time on BO8 and BI8.  Urghh.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I went to Gilbert to skate the Wednesday night public as usual.  Got on the ice kinda late (about 7:50) and skated for 25 minutes or so.  The ice was crappy and it was crowded, but hey it's a public session.  Ice cut at 8:15 and apparently the Zamboni was having issues because the result was actually worse in some ways -- snow was gone but no water down so surface was rough and quite bumpy.

I skated on that for about 3 minutes and decided it just wasn't worth it, so I left.  Grrr.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Waltz-8, BI8

Today's figures lesson on Chandler coffee club as usual.  We moved this from Wednesday due to a scheduling conflict.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- just a little time on these.  About the same as before -- RFO8 not too bad, LFO8 weaker.  I am so frustrated with these!  Oh well.  It's like my spins, they will just take a long time but I'm sure they will eventually arrive and be solid.
  • waltz-8 -- the bulk of our time.  Working on getting turned more for the step forward so that I stay on the circle.  I really worked at a) putting my leading hand over the print and b) looking over the leading hand :-).  It did help. It also helps to just slow down a bit and relax (gee where have I heard that before?).
  • BI8 -- just a little time on these.  The push is continuing to get stronger with practice (yay!) and I'm getting a better position on the first part of the 2nd circle.
  • Serpentine -- just a couple minutes on these for refresher.  The deal is that the figure always starts with the FO edge... so it's either LFOI->RFIO, or RFOI->LFIO depending on which foot you start on.  Either way you have to do 3 complete figures.  Eeep.  Like I told Lynne this stuff is not for the faint of heart! :-)

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APB Freestyle Test Runthrough

Today's lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  As usual good ice and only about 4 skaters.  As I was getting on I got to see Nikki B and wish her luck at Regionals, it was nice to see her.  Also saw Michelle and Sarah P.  Good stuff!

Today's lesson:
  • Spins -- trying to build on my progress from last night.  I had some that were pretty good, others not so much.  JJ had me working to bring both my hands out and around and not bring them in (the best ones were where I actually did that).  Progress though!
  • Waltz jump -- pretty good.  JJ reminded me to hold the landing.
  • Salchow -- since I've been doing this from the "waltz-jump" style entrance they are awesome timing-wise.  I need to get more "jump" though.  I should try doing a waltz jump - salchow sequence.
  • Two-foot spin -- it's always the "easy" stuff that gets you and today was no exception.  Grrr.  I couldn't get a really good one to save my life.  Hmm.  Needs work.
  • FXOs/BXOs -- no issues here esp. since I only have to do one direction (a.k.a. my good side).  We worked a bit on "presentation" though -- JJ would like me to do a landing position after the BXOs, then step forward and T-stop.  Bleah.
  • Lunge -- no issues here other than JJ pointing out that I need to hold the lunge for 3 secs.  That seems like foreeeeever!
After my lesson I stayed and skated another 45 minutes.   Worked on spins, jumps and moves.  Good stuff.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Monday Night Zoo

I skated the new 5:10 FS at Gilbert.  In the summer this was a 45 min session but now it's an hour.  Fortunately my schedule changed so that that works for me.  The session was pretty crowded, I counted 18 skaters and 8 coaches!  Geez.  Mostly lower level/younger skaters.

I had a pretty good skate.  Took me a while to get warmed up, though, but eventually things were clicking. JJ stopped by for a bit and gave me some feedback on my spins and toe loop.  Toward the end of the session I got some really, really good spins! I was really opening up the L side.  I was pretty psyched!

Friday, October 01, 2010


I managed to get in about half an hour of skating at Chandler coffee club today despite a really crazy day at work.  As usual it was patch practice.  I worked mostly on FO8s and they were... surprisingly good!  Even the LFO8 was really quite good!  I was surprised.  I was not quite getting around the circle though, which makes me wonder if I was not pushing as hard, and if so if that's why it was better.  Hmm.