Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


My lesson with JJ this morning on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  As usual good ice and not crowded at all!  I had not skated since Wednesday (!) so I felt a little rusty, but not nearly as much as I expected.  (Yay me!)

Today's lesson:
  • lunge -- JJ asked me if I'd been practicing my lunge and of course I had to say "not really!" so we worked on it briefly; mostly on getting lower.  JJ showed me an exercise, basically doing the lunge at the boards with the free leg up in the boards at an open door and then lunging.  It's a lot easier to work on getting lower this way.  My back knee doesn't really like being turned sideways though, but I think it will get better.
  • 1 foot spin -- JJ asked me to think of two things to think about as I did the spin (I chose getting a nicely bent skating knee on the entry, and the final arm position).  Then he had me do a spin (eh), then asked me to think about the things I'd pictured but to think about them as process not things to remember -- in other words, to make those things part of my spin-process.  It made sense to me better than I'm conveying here... anyway we spent some time on them.  The good news is that I had some pretty fast spins that I didn't bail on.  The bad news is that they are still inconsistent.
  • 2-foot spin -- I reeled off a pretty good one right off the bat and JJ was pleased :-) so we went on.
  • waltz jump -- more process.  We worked on more or less the same stuff as last week, starting from a T as well as moving -- keeping the hands together, bending the skating knee on the FO edge as the hands come back and then jumping.  I did a couple that were not too bad but I need to solidify this.
All in all a good lesson.  After the lesson I stayed for the next session (1.5 hrs total) and worked on spins, waltz jump and also ran the FXO-BXOs and worked on the Bronze F8 pattern.  I'm amused that I can't get around the circle in my FS skates now when it's so much easier in my patch blades.  Oh well.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Night Zoo

I skated the public session at Gilbert for about an hour, as usual.  The Z-break was at 8 (a little early) but still left a lot of gouges at center ice.  Grr.  Worked mostly on spins and waltz jump.  Spins were mostly crappy though I got a few okay ones when I managed to make myself relax a bit.  Grrr.  Still it was fun.

All My 8s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We were over on the South Pole today and it was really deserted!  Freshly zammed ice and somewhat dimmer lights meant I could actually see my tracings :-)

Today's lesson:
  • FI8s -- we hadn't looked at these in a while.  They were pretty good!  I'm getting much better at remembering to hold the free hip back on the L foot.  Tracings were pretty close.
  • FO8s -- a little unsteady at times but pretty good.  Lynne says I still need to think more about bending and really pushing into the edge.
  • Waltz-8 -- these were not as good as yesterday :-(.  They are better than they were a few weeks ago, though, that's for sure.  I'm usually coming back to center, though my circles are not very... circular!  Kind of egg-shaped.  Oh well.
  • BO8s - I'm trying to keep the free leg in front now so these are a little off.  The R foot is not too bad.  On the LBO8 I have real issues after the rotation, I can't seem to hold that position (free foot back) without leaning out of the circle, which throws me onto a flat. Grrr.  Needs more work!  I need a better push too.
  • BI8s -- right now these are really small circles!  I'm doing a decent job of keeping the free foot in front though, but having issues keeping tension in my free leg after the rotation.  The L foot is much better than the R foot.
Lots to work on but I'm encouraged.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Coffee club patch practice as usual.  About 9 skaters and 1, later 2 coaches.  Had a pretty good practice -- I'm really enjoying having sharp blades, my FO8s are much better!  Also doing much better on waltz-8 (yay!).  On the B8s I'm working again on keeping the free foot in front -- BI8 not too bad but my circles are smaller this way; on the BO8 not as good.  Good practice though.

Spins & Jumps

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual.  Good ice, a few more skaters at the beginning of the session but they cleared out.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- I was working on these when I started, so JJ wanted to look at it for a minute.  He gave me some feedback on the initial push, to get a bit more twist so that the first part of the push is stronger and then trail off more quickly.
  • Spins -- the first few were pretty good, then as so often happens they got worse.  JJ says that I'm not letting the 3 happen, I'm rushing it (duh).  I really need to find some mental tool to keep myself from rushing these.  Hmm.
  • Waltz jump -- we worked a bit on my timing; JJ wants me to hold the FO edge longer before the jump, and not to let my L arm swing wide.  Both arms/hands need to come together and then pull back while the skating knee bends.  Hmmph.
  • Salchow -- still working to improve these -- JJ wants me to hold the check longer after the 3, then bend the skating knee more deeply.  Grrr.
I had to get to work so couldn't stay for a 2nd session today.  Maybe next week!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Night Zoo

I skated the Monday night FS at Gilbert as usual, and as usual quite busy -- I counted 17 skaters and like 6 coaches.  Eeep!  Still it was workable, definitely.  I felt kind of 'off' today for some reason and it took me forever to warm up.  Bleah.

I worked through my usual list o' stuff.  Spins... only got one 2 rev that was decent, the rest were varying degrees of crappy.   Jumps... sal was a bit off today, toe loop bleah.  I worked on them against the wall too.

High point was getting to see Shayna, who's back for Thanksgiving break.  Yay!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Skatin' Wit Da Homies!

I skated the 7 a.m. FS at Sherwood today.  As usual, truly excellent ice and only 4 skaters and one coach.

I worked a bunch on spins and got several good ones and several bad ones.  I'm not clear how (other than repetition) I can get more consistent.  Maybe I need some kind of mental ... mantra? Song? Rhythm?  Dunno.  I can really tell when it's right and when it's wrong but not great on consistently getting it right.

Fun times hangin' with Sonya, Madison and Bree, and also got to see Carol, Krissy, Karly and Alee.  Yay!  I keep missing Emmy tho :-( as she skates REALLY  early and I wasn't there in time :-(.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All The Usual Suspects

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I had my patch blades sharpened on Wednesday but hadn't had a chance to skate in them since due to work commitments.  On the warmup I felt much more secure, so a big win there.  The only issue was the usual difficulty stopping.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8s -- just a few minutes on these.  The newly-sharpened blades really flow!  Even the LFO8 wasn't too bad.  I know someday it will be easy... just not yet!
  • BO8s -- again, really nice flow.  A nice experience to come in to center with some speed!... until Lynne reminded me I really should work on keeping the free foot in front.  Whoa.  I am really going to have to work on this because the second I get that foot out there (the R side, esp., L not as bad) I go flat and lose the edge.  Grrr.
  • BI8s -- again with the free foot.  Actually the insides are much, much easier for me at least as far as position -- my circles are VERY small right now and I need much more push.  But the free foot is happening, more or less!
  • waltz-8 -- finished up with these.  3s a little rough at first but settled in.  Step forward still a bit rough but holding the FO edge better after.
All in all I'm pretty pleased with my progress on the B8s -- I've had these free foot issues forever, so the progress I'm making is really exciting.  Lots more to do though!

After my lesson Lynne and Sacha were working on a routine they are skating for a show in LA, and I think also next week here.  So cool to see her skating 'for real' -- she's just amazing to watch.  I am off to Oregon for work this afternoon, bringing my skates so hopefully I will get to skate w/my SIA homegirls tomorrow and/or Thursday.

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Test Prep

My FS lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert. JJ has a scheduling issue right now so we started right at 7:30, with only a couple of minutes warmup for me.

Today's lesson:
  • FXO-BXOs - just once through as warmup.  Not too bad, but I need to stay down in my knees more on both, and not rush the tempo on the BXOs.  The mohawk was okay and so was the finish.
  • 2-foot spin -- first one bleah, second and third much better.  JJ reminded me to keep the arms out until I finish the pivot and then bring them in.
  • 1-foot spin -- the first several were pretty good. After that I think I get a bit overzealous and they get worse :-(.  Same issues, but I am definitely more comfortable with it.
  • waltz jump -- we worked a bit on improving my landing, it's the whole "Buns of Steel" position (head up, glutes in, free leg strong, skating knee bent).  It's hard to believe I have been doing these for like 6 years and STILL haven't tested them!  Oh well that will change soon.
  • salchow -- JJ wants me to hold the LFO longer before the 3, and we worked on having a better position after the 3 going into the jump.  JJ says I am bringing my L hand around and I really just need to hold it strongly in front and have the R hand come meet it.  Okay I've only been told that like six bazillion times (starting with Anna!).  Geez.  Anyway still working on it.
That was all we had time for.  After my lesson I worked on the lunge a little bit.  It's still scraping when I pick the foot up.. oh well.  Grr.  I was really tired, had a billion things to do at work, and only had one sticker anyway, so I didn't stay for the 8:15.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Skatin' Wit Da TFSC

I was down in Tucson and had another opportunity to partake of the TFSC ice at the TCC.  Just one hour available (10:30 - 11:30).  Worked a lot on spins and got several good ones!  Also some jumps and moves and too much messing around with the boom box.  Oh well!  It was nice to see folks out skating.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Night Zoo

As usual I went to the public session at Gilbert tonight, just for an hour.  I had a lot of trouble spinning on my newly-sharpened blades, I assume my rocker has moved a little.  Had a fun time hangin' with Megan, Trevor, Michelle and Roland.  Roland gave me some pointers that are basically things JJ keeps telling me that helped me make some progress.  Yay!

Waltz-8, B8s

Today's figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  This session was actually quite crowded!  I counted 12 skaters and 2 coaches.  Wow.

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- these are definitely improved.  I'm holding the exit from the 3 longer (my practice last week paid off!) and the step forward is better, it's turned far enough (mostly) now.  The FO edge coming back to center is still a bit rough but definitely progress!
  • BO8s -- RBO8 is decent.  LBO8 I'm still working to get all the way around, and to hold the initial position so I don't rotate too soon.
  • BI8s -- slowly improving.  Lynne reminded me that I should be working to have the free foot in front after the initial push (something I was totally forgetting about), which should help with my issues with rotating too soon.  The LBI8 feels much better and if got a better push into it it would be fine, I think.
All in all a good lesson.  After the session I took both pairs of skates in to get my blades sharpened as I was definitely due.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Slogging Through

Today's lesson on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  As usual good ice and not too crowded.  It's nice that I have gotten to know many of the skaters at this session, it makes me feel more at home.

Today's lesson:
  • FXO-BXOs -- just a brief review, JJ wanted to see how the transition was going.  It was a little rougher than Sunday, the ice was much cleaner and I got lots more speed on the FXOs so going into the LFI mohawk was a little scary but I managed it okay.  We discussed the end of the pattern since it wasn't clear to me whether he wanted me to do an LBO or RBO edge.  He clarified that he did want an RBO edge (landing position), so a change of circle, followed by a step forward and T-stop.  I'll have to work on that. Other than that it was okay although the BXOs were a little rushed and scratchy.
  • Spins -- these continue to improve.   The main issue now is that I have a good entrance but I'm getting a lot more speed in the spin so I'm tending to bail out.  JJ says as I get more used to the speed (via lots of practice!) I'll handle it better.  I think so too.  
  • Toe loop -- we worked on these pretty extensively on the wall and JJ took some video to show me what I am doing.  I think I have to make a complete separation in my mind between the toe-waltz and a real toe loop since the feeling is quite different. These are great against the barrier but not out on the ice yet!  Geez.
  • Waltz jump -- I only did one, as a warmup for the salchow, but JJ took a moment to remind me that I should hold the LFO edge longer before the jump.
  • Salchow -- these are coming along okay.  I did a few on the ice and then JJ worked with me on the barrier.  He wants me to get a better kneebend after the LFO3, and then to be sure to get the free leg extended behind at the same time.   He'd like me to hold the LBI edge a bit longer before the jump.
That was all we had time for at this point.

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I skated the 5:10 p.m. FS at Gilbert as usual.  As usual rather crowded and too much Christmas music!  Oh well.

I worked on all the usual stuff -- jumps and spins and a very little bit of moves that I worked in.  Spins are getting better slowly.  I really need to fix my darn toe loop though!  Still it was a good skate.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bonus Time

I skated for an hour at the morning FS at Chandler today... since it's listed in my skating plan as "optional" I label it "bonus time."

Had a decent skate, although the ice was pretty crappy -- apparently there was a big group number rehearsal for Autumn Antics before the first FS session today.  Still it was serviceable and JJ always says "ice is ice!".  I just get nostalgic for that beautiful, beautiful ice at Sherwood!

I worked on spins and jumps mostly.  I got a number of okay spins but no outstanding ones, still, they are getting a little more consistent.  Had trouble landing the sal in the waltz-sal sequence today, not sure what was up with that.  I worked a little on the FXO-BXO pattern for the APB FS test and I must have been going a little slower (actually I'm pretty sure of it) because I was able to do the LFI mohawk okay today.  And just before the end of the hour I ran through the first third or so of my program (sans music) for the first time in a lonnnng time.  It was okay. I only ran from the beginning through the waltz jump.

Friday, November 05, 2010


I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice, as usual.  About 9 skaters and one coach.  Mostly decent ice.  I worked on all the usual suspects and felt like I was actually making good progress on the BO8 and BI8 although my push is still weak.  Waltz-8 seemed slightly improved too, though I fell twice on the step-forward.  Oh well!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wednesday Night Zoo

I skated the Wednesday night public at Gilbert for an hour or so.  Actually it wasn't that zoo like by the time I got there, and after the Zamboni break (about 8:20) it was not crowded at all.  Besides yakking with Megan, Trevor and Michelle I also worked on my spins a lot.  They were pretty bad for quite some time but at the end of the night I got some decent ones so I guess it was worthwhile.


Patch practice at the Chandler coffee club as usual.  No lesson since Lynne is out of town.  Had a decent skate... BI8/BO8 I am just not getting enough push!  Grrr.  Waltz eight I think I am getting some improvement on the step forward itself (it's more in the right direction) but can't hold the edge after :-(. 

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  I worked on FO8s, a bunch of time on BI8 and BO8, and a little time on waltz-8, 3s and step forward.  No breakthroughs but some good solid practice.

What, The Puck?

Today's lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  As usual, good ice and only 3 or 4 skaters.

Today's lesson:
  • FXO/BXOs -- working on the pattern for the test.  I didn't really want to spend a lot of time on this but when I told JJ that I was having issues doing the LFI mohawk at speed, he wanted to work out some other options -- so we tried varying which side we did so that I would do a RFO3 or an LFO3, or a step forward (back inside mohawk).  Of course the LFO3 was the easiest/best, but it also means that I would do my worst sides of each (FXO and BXO).  Yuck.  So this says to me that I should just practice the LFI mohawk so that I can do it at speed.
  • the puck! -- as we were working on this we spent a little time working to de-scratch my CCW BXOs.  JJ showed me a drill where you take a hockey puck (he went and found one) and then stand at the boards in the BXO position (weight on L foot, R leg crossed behind) and put the R skate on the puck and work to slide it toward and away from the body.  The point is to get a feel for how much the *R* leg needs to be bent and how close to keep it.  This was really helpful.
  • 2-foot spins -- just a quick check on these.  JJ wants me to keep my hands up at the start.  I did an ucky one, then an okay one, and then a really good one :-).  I'll keep practicing them.
  • spins -- finished up with these.  I mentioned to JJ how I'd gotten some good ones yesterday and then not, and he said that if I get 3 or so bad in a row I should either move on, or go back to practicing one of my practice moves (precursors) -- in this case that would be the two-foot spin and pick up one foot, or entering from the hockey glide.  Good advice.  Anyway we worked on them and they are improving.  We worked more on just holding the arms out and getting square.  It's getting there.  I am about due for a blade sharpening so it will be interesting to see if that helps or hurts.
I couldn't stay late today as I had to get to work, so only 45 minutes of freestyle today :-(.

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Monday, November 01, 2010


I skated the 5:10 p.m. FS at Gilbert as usual.  About 12 skaters and 5 coaches.  I had a pretty good skate, did 5 each of my jumps, 2 waltz-salchow sequences, 2 two-foot spins and 20 1-foot spins.  The first 5 spins were pretty good, but after that they were not so great.  I don't know if I was tired or got complacent or what.  Some of the later ones improved but still weren't as good as those first 5.  Grrr.