Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  It seems like forever since I had an entire session to just work on patch without having a lesson!

Had a pretty good skate, I worked on pretty much everything in my current practice repertoire -- FO8, FI8, edges (no back edges today though), FO3s, waltz-8, BO8, BI8, and serpentine.  No breakthroughs but some solid practice.

Program Prep

My freestyle lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. freestyle at Gilbert.  A little crowded when I first got on but it cleared out after that.

Today's lesson was all about prepping my Apollo 13 program for PCAS at the end of February.  We went over the first section as I wanted to make a small change.  Currently the beginning was 2-ft spin, back pivot, LF glide, feet together w/arms, RF glide, RFI mohawk.  The issue was that I needed to push before the RFI mohawk (I need a little more speed by that point for one thing).  So I suggested doing an RF glide at the beginning and then an LF glide into the RFI mohawk so I could push into it.  We played with this and it seems to work fine; just needs a little practice since it's a change.

After this we spent the rest of our time working on the last part of the 1st half of the program, specifically the mohawk footwork into the salchow.  I was really glad to spend time on this since it seems to be the weakest part of the program.  We went through it a number of times to get the salchow more comfortable.  We also spent quite a bit of time reviewing the little arm gesture before the spin... finally got it figured out.  Ha!

PCAS is about 4 weeks away.  I'm hoping I can be a bit more solid for this than before since I've had this program a while now.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FO8, FO3, Waltz-8, BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We had to move this lesson up from the usual Wednesday due to a scheduling issue.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- I had only warmed up for a few minutes when we started (though I had skated FS 1.5 hours this morning) so we did a fresh layout of FO8.  Arrrgh!  Pretty ukky, though they did improve.  I was a bit shallow on the LFO side and still fighting that L shoulder on the RFO.  Grr.
  • FO3s -- we went to work FO3s on the hockey box semicircle as we have been recently.  Placement of these is definitely improving.  We worked on trying to eliminate the skid and get the turn to happen more quickly and definitively.  Some improvement there although I'm not sure I could explain how :-(.  Keeping the free foot close does help though.
  • Waltz-8 -- we've been working on doing a better BO edge and it is finally happening.  The step forward is improving somewhat in that it's placed better and I'm turning more; but I'm still tending to step on a flat, or not be on a good edge/have my weight placed correctly when I step.  They did improve though.
  • BO8 -- just a couple minutes on these at the end.  RBO is pretty good, LBO is good but I'm tending to run out of steam; the positions are good though, so if I can get a better push it will probably be okay.
After my lesson I spent more time on BO8s, BI8s, and then finished with a bunch of time on serpentines and FO8s again.  FO8s were much improved.  Serpentine I have a lot of issues with my upper body position at the change of edge.   Grrr.

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Mohawks, Waltz Jump, Toe Loop

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  As usual, good ice and only 4 or 5 skaters and maybe 4 coaches.  In my warmup I did a really nice 4-rev spin, woo!

Today's lesson:
  • Mohawks -- I complained to JJ that my mohawks (I was looking at them on Sunday) really stink, so we worked on them a bit.  JJ suggested that I work to turn my upper body into the circle more and actually have both feet on the ice at the same time (what a concept).  We worked it against the boards a bit and then on the ice.  I need to work these more, I've really developed some bad habits in this area.
  • Waltz jump -- still working to fix my timing on this while actually holding the FO edge.  Some progress.  I have to say, when I actual do this right I get a nice, high, easy-feeling jump.
  • Toe loop -- still trying to uncheat this.  One suggestion JJ made to help me from blocking myself with my R shoulder as I go into the jump is to open the R palm after the 3.  It really helped!  Some progress but lots more to do here.
That was all we had time for.  I  have another lesson with JJ on Thursday morning since we missed last week.

After my lesson I stayed until 9 a..m and worked on waltz jump, spins, mohawks, and toe loop.  I also ran my Apollo 13 program with music twice.  Wow, the first time really stank!  Second time was much better but still some issues with the footwork sequence and the salchow.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

TCC Skate With TFSC

I was down in Tucson today to skate at the TCC with the Tucson FSC for an hour.  Had a pretty good skate.  I worked a bunch on spins, my waltz jump, and also some quality time on mohawks.  Mine are still too hoppy.  Grrr.

As I was getting off the ice I was carrying the boombox (we have a boombox we bring out to play music since there's no sound system available to us) and I somehow got the cord of the boombox tangled in my toepick and took a header onto the ice and dropped what I was carrying.  That wouldn't have been so bad except as I was falling my R hand landed on the (now-open) cassette door for the boombox, giving me a nice gash in it.  I didn't realize it was bleeding until I got up.  Gaaah.  It's okay now but geez, I hate stupid stuff like that :-(.

In other news I registered for Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals 2011 today!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Was supposed to have a lesson but JJ had to cancel due to a baby issue :-(.  Had a good skate, got some really good spins!  Including a 4-rev.  Still trying to fix my waltz jump timing.  I ran the various pieces of my program several times, but not straight through and not with music ... gotta do that ASAP.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Night Zoo

I skated the Wednesday night public at Gilbert... got there about 7:30 and wow it was SO crowded and the ice was SO bad!  And most of the folks I know were not there :-(.  I worked a bit on spins and jumps as well as I could under the circumstances.  After the z-break it cleared out nicely, and some people I knew showed up so that was better.

Spins... a couple of good ones in the beginning and then worse.  Waltz and sal okay, toe loops.. I got one that might have been actually good (couldn't really see).

FO3s, Waltz-8, Serpentine

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  Between traveling and a nasty cold I had over the weekend, I had not skated since Thursday, and hadn't done patch since my last lesson with Lynne.  Eeep!

Today's lesson:
  • FO3s -- we continued to work to improve these, on the hockey box semicircle.  They are improving -- I am holding the entrance longer and while still skiddy, they are not as bad.
  • Waltz-8 -- slowly improving.  We worked on doing a better BO edge -- I think of it as trying to actually do a BO edge, not just something I do before the step-forward :-).  The step forward and FO edge are still quite weak, the weakest part of this move.   And of course this move is the weakest move of all the stuff on the Preliminary figures test.
  • Serpentine -- just a few minutes on these.  It seems like (other than needing to push a lot harder) the weakest part right now is that my FO edges are still inconsistent.  I had done some nice FOs in my warmup but in the serpentine -- yuck.  Grr.  Still, I got through a few of them.  I need to start pushing my way through the FI edge so I can practice the remainder of the move.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Skating Wit Da Homegirls

I skated the 7 a.m. FS at my old rink, Sherwood Ice Arena in lovely Sherwood Oregon.  Only 3 of us on this session, me and homegirls Madison and Casey (Casey had to leave shortly, however).  As always at SIA, really beautiful ice. 

Had a good skate, worked on my toe loops a LOT but not much progress.  Also some spins and moves.  Toward the end of the session Sam showed up (she is home from college)... awesome to see her, she's such an amazing skater and person!

Good times!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Footwork, Toe Loop, Spins

I am in Portland today and tomorrow, and had a lesson with Sonya this morning on the 6:15 FS at the Winterhawks Skating Center.

Today's lesson:
  • Footwork -- we started off by working through some of the footwork in my Apollo 13 program, specifically the 2nd half -- bunny hop, lunge, RFI3.  Sonya worked with me to get better height in the bunny hop, and then we spent some time working on the step forward after the RFI3 -- keeping the feet close together and stepping onto a good edge.
  • Toe loop -- we next spent some time working on my toe loop to un-cheat it.  Sonya gave me an exercise at the boards: on the L toepick, R foot raised, arms on the glass, jump up and untwist the hips to land on the R foot. We also worked on these out on the ice and did a large number of them.   I did manage to get one that was almost not cheated and felt pretty good.
  • Spins -- finished up with these.  I did several that were really darn good! Sonya reminded me to look up on the brushout so that I don't lean forward, and to keep the free leg in after I'm in position.
All in all I was really pleased with this lesson, especially on the toe loop.  I also had some time in the middle to play my 2011-12 free skate program music, and Sonya really liked it :-).

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

FO3s & BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  This lesson was moved to today due to a work trip.  Also my FS lesson with JJ usually scheduled for this morning was postponed since his wife is having a baby!!

Before my lesson I did a complete set of FI8 and FO8.  They looked really good!

Today's lesson:
  • FO3s -- we continued to work these on the side semicircle.  Seriously we spent like 10 or 12 minutes on this!  They are gradually improving though, I'm doing a better job of keeping the free hip back and keeping the free foot/leg close and not letting it swing around.
  • BO8 -- I was having some issues with these until we both realized I was not keeping my free foot in front during the first part of the circle (duh!).  So that helped a lot.  Still need to work on the 2nd half of the lobe on each circle so that it doesn't get cut short.
After my lesson I worked a bunch on BI8s and waltz-8.  Got some good work in.

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

APB Free Skate Test -- "Pass"!

I passed my free skate test at Peoria today!

I was on the ice at Chandler at 7 a.m. for a 35 minute warmup.  Warmup went well, and I was feeling good.  Headed out to Peoria (it's a 45 min drive) and arrived about 8:30 to find that the test session was running 15 minutes ahead of scheduled (!) so I only had about 15 minutes before my warmup.  The good news was that since they were running ahead they decided to make the quad-panel into just a double panel, with me and skate buddy Megan going in the second group.

We went out for our warmup (there were 6 of us -- me, 3 pre-pre skaters, one prelim and one adult gold).  It was relatively civilized out there :-).  Went through my elements.  Waltz jump -fine.  Salchow -- biffed the landing and almost fell.  Spin -- not bad.  2-foot spin -- eh; JJ made me do another and it was fine.  Did XOs, had to modify my pattern due to traffic.  I was a bit nervous at this point and it showed in my XOs, my knees/feet were shaking a bit.  Lunge -- okay.  JJ had me do another salchow and another spin and then we discussed the pattern for the FXO/BXO, and then it was time to come off.

Went back to the lobby to get warm and wait, then they called Megan and me to the ice.  I skated over to the judge (Wilma Walker) and introduced myself.  And then we started!

Below are the judge's comments for each element, in italics, followed by my commentary:
  • Jump #1 -- waltz jump.   good landing edge.  good height.  I was pretty happy with this.  I don't think I did my arms the way JJ wanted me to but at least it flowed nicely and had a good landing.
  • Jump #2 -- salchow -- very low.  Well, yes :-).  It was an okay salchow, for me.  Not much height but the timing was okay so that was the important thing.
  • One-foot upright spin -- good rotation & edge out.  I did a one-foot spin and it was... not so great.  Didn't fall but it didn't quite happen.  The judge looked at me and kind of waved and said "do it again!"  So I did and got a pretty decent spin!  Not my best ever but good enough.
  • Two-foot upright spin -- messy but ok.  Now THERE's a kindness.  For some reason after the one-foot spin I had a wave of total nervousness -- ironic since the first elements were the 'hard' ones.  So I really biffed the 2-foot spin, couldn't get my feet together and was off-balance.  The judge called me over and said something like "is this harder for you than the 1-foot spin" or something like that, and I just told her I was really nervous. So she motioned for me to try it again.  I tried it again and it was almost as bad, but I managed to bring it together enough to be sort of okay.  Phew.
  • Crossovers forward & backward -- good push from side of blade.  By now Megan was done with her test so I got to do these exactly as I'd practiced -- 3 pushes down the center line, then FXOs in a biiiiig circle CCW back to center, LFI mohawk, BXOs CW in a biiiig circle back to center, landing position and step forward.  I was really happy with these as I thought I did really good crossovers.
  • Lunge or spiral -- good steady lunge.  Before I started the judge said, "Don't tell me whether you are doing a lunge or spiral, let's see if I can tell!" which made me laugh.  What a kindness!  So I went out and picked a spot on the ice that wasn't too smooth (lol!)and did a pretty good lunge!  And I was done.
Afterward I had to wait what seemed like forever to get my results, then hung out talking to people, then went to breakfast with JJ and the McNabs and finally home!  I'm wiped out.

Thanks to all the judges and volunteers who made this test session possible!  Thanks to my coach JJ, and to my previous coaches who helped get me to this point! And thanks to the McNabs, Suweena, Tracy, and Keila and Jon for coming out and supporting me!


Friday, January 07, 2011


I skated at Chandler FS this morning for an hour, my last practice before tomorrow's test.  BRRRRRRR!!  It was bitterly cold in the rink.  Other than that great conditions, just two of us for half the session, and the other half just me by myself.

I worked mostly on the test elements.  They are all about the same.. which is good I suppose.  I did not anticipate any major breakthroughs.  A couple of really bad spins but most were okay; waltz jumps fine but still a bit weird.  Salchows... eh.

I had worn a new pair of UnderArmour leggings that I got for Christmas.  They are supposed to be warm.  And they are... except they are not wind-proof! So not so great for skating, especially not when it was SO cold in the rink.  When I wasn't moving too much (jumps and spins) it wasn't too bad, but when I was doing FXOs and BXOs... wow, the wind cut right through and it was cold. Oh well, live and learn.  They'd probably be fine for summer skating though.

The plan for tomorrow is to warm up on Chandler a.m. FS from 7 to 7:30 a.m., then drive over to Peoria for my 9 a.m. warmup and 9:15 test.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.   I worked on pretty much all my stuff, including serpentines which I had not touched in a while.  My BI8s are progressing nicely -- keeping my free foot close for the second half of the circle has really really helped!  BO8s were not bad either. FO8s about the same as yesterday, as was waltz-8. 

Wednesday Night Zoo

I skated the Wednesday night public at Gilbert as usual, for about 1.5 hrs.  It was quite crowded before the Z-break at 8, afterward it cleared out a bit and after 8:45 it was pretty good.

I worked a bunch on spins and jumps, thanks to Trevor who seems to have been paid off by JJ to keep me from slacking :-).  I did have some time to be social with Megan and Michelle and to help Tabatha with her back crossovers.  All in all a lot of fun and some good work.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

FO8s, FO3s, Waltz-8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  We had some excitement as my lesson was starting, as there was a (low-speed) collision between two skaters.  One of them had a backward fall that shook her up a lot.  I think she'll be okay but she might have sprained her wrist.  She's a newbie skater so she is not that used to falling and it was unexpected since it was a collision.  :-(

Today's lesson:
  • FO8s -- just a few minutes on these.  I'm practicing starting with my L foot since I want to work more on my R side restart (R side is usually fine initially).  Actually good flow today, though I do need to watch the rotation on the L side so I don't overrotate.
  • FO3s -- back to drilling these on the small side-circle.  RFO3 is not too bad, LFO3 is fairly skidded. I did make some small improvements though.
  • Waltz-8 -- these were about the same.  3 is okay, step forward is getting better but FO edge afterward still not very controlled.  Grrr.

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Test Schedule

The test schedule for Saturday at Peoria is posted.  My warmup is at 9 a.m. and my test is at 9:15.  There are 6 people in my warmup group; one preliminary free skate, one adult Gold and 3 pre-pre free skates.  I am quad-paneled for my test, so that will be interesting, esp. when I have to do my crossover pattern.  

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual, though I only had a half hour due to work commitments.  Worked my FO8s a bunch, then some time on FO3s and then waltz-8.  Bleah.  My FO3s are still tending to be too skidded.  Grrr.

Final Test Prep

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

Today's lesson:
  • waltz jump -- we worked to continue fixing the timing of this jump.  The good news is that I am holding the FO edge longer and the jump feels very light and free, and higher (I think).  The bad news is that in spite of that I'm tending to jump when my arms are still drawn back to my side, or only slightly raised.  If I can actually wait a bit longer, bend the knee more and let the arms come up just imagine the height I can get!
  • 2-foot spin -- I'm tending to bring my arms in immediately on this, and JJ wants me to bring them in more slowly, he says it's better technique and will show the judges I know what I'm doing :-).  I did manage to do a little better on this.
  • 1-foot spin -- not too bad.  First one was a little wonky (my warmup ones were pretty good), but subsequent ones were better.
  • lunge -- still need to work on getting down and staying down.  JJ says the issue I was having yesterday was due to letting the free hip go back instead of staying square (makes sense).  I did some more and they were better.
That's all we had time for.  I'm skating twice more (freestyle) before the test, tomorrow night and Friday morning, then hopefully have some warmup Saturday morning depending on the schedule for the test (which hasn't been released yet).

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Just In The Nick Of Time

I skated the 8:15 a.m. FS this morning at Chandler.  I had not skated this session in a long, long time but I decided that for the new year it would behoove me to start.  For one thing it's a lot easier to fit into my work schedule (for now anyway) than the 5:10 at Gilbert.

I had a great skate!  I got on the ice and did a 4 minute warmup, then ran through the APB freestyle test.  It went fine, and I actually got a good spin!  The only issue (weird!) was my lunge was slightly wonky.  My free leg started to drift behind me and I couldn't get it to stay so it was not the full 5 seconds JJ wants.

After the run through I did lots more jumps and spins (and lunges).  I got a couple of ukky spins but most of them were decent, and a couple were outstanding (4 revs).  Yay!  I'm pretty stoked.