Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

BO8, Waltz-8, Serpentine

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- I was really glad I spent time on these earlier in the week.  While my edges and pushing were generally pretty good, we started working on coming back to center.  Lynne explained that now that I'm doing a much better job of skating the actual edges I need to work on being able to look for my mark (the push mark, since I won't actually get a short-axis mark!) when I'm coming back to center -- being able to both watch my print on the 2nd and 3rd tracings and yes spotting that center and being able to come back to it.  Ugh.
  • Waltz-8 -- we spent a bunch of time on these since they really are my weakest link right now as far as the Preliminary test.   I actually did better on the R side -- the L side step forward is still out too much but I did manage to carry it around more and have a better pattern.  Lots more work required here.
  • Serpentine -- just a couple of minutes on these at the end... A little better than last week but still not quite making it all the way.  I almost made it on the R foot (was about 3 ft. short) -- if I'd had a better change of edge I would have made it.  Grrr.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

BXOs, Spins, Sit Spin Prep

My lesson with JJ this morning.  Due to a commitment, JJ moved our lesson up to 7:15 a.m. and I was on the ice at about 7:10.

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs to landing position -- since we had the rink to ourselves I wanted to work on these since it's a pretty blind move.  The pattern is pretty good.  JJ reminded me to lift the head (especially) and be lifted up (core strong) and stay off the toe.  In general  I think this move is pretty good but it would be good to be faster, and look a little more confident.
  • Spins -- ugh.  We spent quite a bit of time on these and they are just really stinky.  I was forgetting to do even basic things I've done well in the past.  I was not at all happy with them.
  • Sit spin prep -- we finished up with a little bit of exercise (starting at the boards) to learn the basic sit spin position.  JJ had me stand facing the boards with the R foot extended and bend down on the L knee.  I didn't get it horizontal but JJ said the most important thing is to learn the basic position so that it would be a recognizable sit spin even if the position will have to be improved.  We worked on these a little bit away from the wall and I can kind of do the position... but considering how my spins stink (see above) I'm pretty skeptical.  Oh well.
After my lesson I stayed for the rest of the session and worked on the rest of my moves.  I actually made some progress on the power-3s, to where I could do one "good" LFO3 (the subsequent one was still pretty bad) and one better-but-still-bad RFO3.  Ugh.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test, then on to BO8, serpentines, 3s to center, and then more waltz-8 and a couple of BI8 to finish up.

I'm still not making it around on the serpentines.  Grrr.  3s are about where they were... I'm really trying to check it but I'm still circling in.  I spent some time at the end working BI8 since I'm suspecting that my weak BI edge is part of the problem with the 3s to center.  Hmmph.

Monday, December 26, 2011


I skated the 5 p.m. FS at Chandler (had the day off).  Ice was not the best, but it was just me and one other skater for most of the session so that's something.

I worked mostly on moves.  I'm doing a bit better on the FXO-BXO pattern, it's about the right size now although I still feel pretty slow (GRR).  I still don't feel like the clockwise FXOs are good though, they always feel awkward like I'm not really over my skate.

BXOs to landing position are improving and the pattern is about right, so that's something.  5-step mohawk needs more work.  Power-3s... ugh.  And the circle-8 is a bit better, I was able to get around on the FO part (FI a little weak?!) even on crappy ice, so that's something.

Spins were ucky, toe loop ucky -- I spent some time on them and if I pull the R foot back and around like I'm supposed to I don't jump I just do a back3 (with my L toepick planted mind you) and push forward.  Grr.  On the other hand that is a step toward the right timing I think.  Waltz jumps were nice at least -- good height I think and a nice landing.

Patch Perseverance

I skated coffee club at Chandler today for patch practice (no Pilates class today ;-().  Had an okay skate, not bad since I'd not skated since last Wednesday!

Ran through the Preliminary test... not bad except of course for the waltz-8.  The L side of the waltz-8 is actually not that bad, it's the R side that's getting me.  The 3s were better though and I worked at holding the first 3rd of the pattern our more, with some success.

Worked on BO8s for the first time in  a while and finally got the RBO back where it used to be.  The LBO was still kinda fragile though, and the 2nd half of the circle was shallow.  Also did some BI8 for the first time in a while -- they have not magically improved since then.

3s to center were about the same.  Serpentines -- ugh!  I am still short of getting around the whole 1.5 circles.  I think I was still not pushing hard enough but the bigger problem was that my edge change was rough and I lost flow.  Grrrrrr.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Test Runthrough, 3s, Serpentine

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  Due to scheduling issues we had to start later than usual, so I had a good long warmup (almost 30 minutes).  I wasn't able to replicate my serpentine success on either foot :-(.  Grrr.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- not bad.  I didn't stick my shoulder back correctly on the 2nd RFO but I managed to hang on anyway.
  • FI8 -- pretty nice.  I love doing these!
  • Waltz-8 -- ugh.  I put my foot down on the R step forward 2 out of 3 times :-(.  These are a lot better than they used to be... but need a lot of improvement still.
  • 3s to center -- these are improving.  The 3 itself is not too bad (which is something, really, when you think about where these were a few months ago).  The biggest challenge is to keep the free foot from unsticking during/after the turn, and to have a good check of the shoulders after the turn.  It seems like I can do one or the other but not both at the same time... yet, anyway.
  • serpentines -- I didn't get all the way around on either foot this time :-( so I was a bit disappointed.  It's really highly sensitive to both getting a big push (don't think I was quite up to what I did last week) and having a good edge and smooth change of edge (it was a bit rough several times).  Still, I'll keep working it.  At least I enjoy working on it!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I skated the 5 p.m. FS at Chandler after work.  I'm trying to get more time in (no lesson this week)... ugh.  I had not skated FS since my lesson last Wednesday and it took me forEVER to warm up.  Bleah.  Worked on spins (got only 1 halfway-okay).... Bronze FXO-BXO pattern, I made some progress in stretching out the BXOs so the pattern is almost right.

I worked some on power-3s and could not for the life of me do an RFO3.  Seriously!  I was about to just scream, I was so frustrated.  Okay I could do one fast and sloppy, but if I slowed it down and/or kept the free leg in, nothing happening.  The weird thing is I had done them in my patch blades at lunchtime! Grrr.

Spent some time trying to uncheat my toeloop... nothin' doin' there.  I really need more icetime.

Patch Progress!

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.    I worked a bunch on waltz-8 and then went on to quality time w/serpentines.  After some effort I was able to duplicate my feat from last week (RFOI serpentine!) and add the LFOI serpentine!! Woohoo!  I was pretty stoked.  Spent the last 5 min or so working on 3s to center and those are improving too.  The turn itself is much nicer but I'm still not getting a good check.  Grrrr.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Serpentine Breakthrough!

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  This was rescheduled from Wednesday due to a work meeting; and my lesson was in the 2nd half of the session as one of Lynne's other students had the first lesson.  It's just as well since I hadn't had a chance to skate in my patch blades since last week!

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- We started (as usual, recently) with the test items minus the edges.  FO8 was okay although I was a little challenged to keep my L shoulder back on the RFO first time.  Not bad though.
  • FI8 -- these were awesome!  Good tracing :-)
  • Waltz-8 -- ugh.  Same issues, different day.  Step forward stinks (although, to be fair, it has noticeably improved in the last few months, it used to be much worse).
  • 3s to center -- about the same.  I'm getting good flow on the RFO3 but still need to check better to hold the circle out.  We fixed an issue with it not being a good edge right before the turn.  L side still considerably weaker.
  • serpentines -- just working FOI.  Change of edge much improved.  After we were working on them for a while I came to the conclusion that the big thing that's lacking now is that I'm just not pushing hard enough to get all the way around the last circle.  Discussed with Lynne what's needed -- bend more into the push (compress the spring) and then a more explosive push.  So.. I gave it a try, and had a really strong push, and made it ALL THE WAY AROUND THE CIRCLE!  Well, okay I was maybe a foot shy, but close enough!  So that's 1.5 circles on one push, with the change of edge.  YAY!!!  That was on the R side.  Tried it on the L side... not yet.  Grrr.  Anyway I'm really happy, it was a big breakthrough!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Moves & Jumps

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

Today's lesson:
  • Power-3s -- After a rocky start I was able to retain my progress from yesterday.  I actually ran through the entire pattern.  I am feeling a lot better about this although there's still a long way to go; but the 3s are starting to be more controlled (and free leg is close) and placed better.  There's very little "power" in them right now so that is going to take some work.
  • Waltz jump --  JJ wanted to look at these.   He wants me to spread the jump out so that each part of the jump (entry, jump, landing) is held out more.  Some success with this.
  • Salchow -- We spent quite a lot of time on these as a single jump (not waltz-sal).  Ugh.  They did get appreciably better though.  Mostly working on the timing.  I have very little "jump" in this though, I need to get braver at that -- it's more like a "step" right now.  Grrr.
  • FXO-BXO pattern -- we did our time trial.  My time was 1:10... ugh.  I thought it was going better than that.  Oh well.
After my lesson (JJ was very generous with his time today) I stayed and worked on more moves -- 5-step mohawk, BXO to landing position, circle-8, and also some spins.   My BXO to landing position went really well -- I actually filled out the pattern correctly and it was a bit better speed-wise too :-).

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I had the day off today, so I skated the 4 p.m. FS at Chandler.  Surprisingly the ice was pretty nice... about 9 skaters and 4 coaches.

I worked mostly on Bronze moves, especially 5-step mohawk and power-3s.  The LBO on the 5-step is still problematic.  I know I'm up on my toe, and it just feels weird.  The excitement for today was that I made some progress on power-3s!  Specifically on the LFO3s (my better side... I know but I gotta start somewhere) I was able to hold to the top of the lobe and then turn while keeping my free leg close!  They felt kind of like the "good" LFO3s I've done in my patch blades while working on 3s to center!  I was really jazzed and spent some time trying to reinforce this so hopefully I can still do it tomorrow :-).

I worked a bit on spins also, and some jumps.  I tried experimenting with the waltz-toe since it is a requirement for the Bronze free skate test.  Eeeeeeep.  I am not setting this up correctly at all.  That will take work.  Fortunately (?) since the Bronze FS test requires a backspin AND a sit spin it's going to be a long time before I take it, so I have plenty of time to get this right... oh and I will need another jump too.  Bleah!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

BXOs To Landing Position

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I have not been getting a lot of freestyle time this last few weeks and it took me a while to warm up.  Ugh.

Today's lesson was focused on the Bronze move in the title.  We had looked at this before.  The challenge is to keep the BO edge from being so deep that the lobes become small.  JJ wanted me to draw out the BXO over the top of the lobe so I can make the BO edge more shallow.  The goal is to only do 5 lobes as per the test handbook.  We got them almost to where they need to be!  Yay!  I'm not happy with the BO edge though, it is kinda scratchy and my posture is not the best.  Also the focus for the move (per the handbook) is "continuous flow and strength" which is adult-test-ese for "power" (which is what the handbook used to say until a couple of years ago).  I'm not generating a lot of power at this point :-(.  I think I really just need to make myself do these every time (really, the whole test) every time I skate.  I'm just a bit squeamish because these tend to be a bit "blind" and I worry about collisions.  Grrr.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

(Almost) Everything, Again

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  The ice was a little weird/bad today.  I warmed up with edges and then we started with the remainder of the Preliminary test.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- These are really getting nice!  My tracings were pretty close.  I was really happy with it, though I imagine it will need to improve a bit before the 1st test.
  • FI8 -- also very nice.  Lynne said I looked very relaxed.
  • Waltz-8 -- ugh.  The 3s were somewhat better but I put my foot down a couple of times on the R side step forward.  These are such a struggle!
  • BO8 -- these are def. better than last week.  Better flow, even on the L side, and I'm doing better on not getting swing on the 2nd half of the R side.  I was having some issues returning to center though, and the 2nd half of the L side is still a bit shallow.
  • 3s to center -- not quite as good as yesterday :-( but still improved.  I am actually getting pretty good flow through the RFO3 -- if I would just check better I might even be able to make it back to center!  The LFO3 still needs more work on that regard but it's improved too.
  • serpentines -- the FOI ones are about the same.  FIO is looking a little better. I'm still a quarter or a half circle short though :-(.
After the lesson I worked on BI8 and waltz-8.  Bleah!

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Patch Practice

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  I was a bit tired and cranky but had a great skate anyway!

I spent 20 minutes working on waltz-8, with maybe a bit of improvement... the 3s were better, step forward maybe a little better.  I worked on taking the back edge a little slower (don't push so hard) so I would not have so much velocity to cope with on the step forward, and that seemed to help. 

3s to center were a bit better, especially (rather surprisingly!) on the L side.  I was doing a better job of getting turned into the circle and so it was a much better turn.  Serpentines were better also, I was getting almost 3/4 of the circle after the change of edge so that's better.

BI8 about the same.. BO8 somewhat improved.  FO8 and FI8 were pretty good and I did a much better job of tracing the print.  I was really happy with that!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

XO Pattern; Spins; Spirals

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

Today's lesson:
  • FXO-BXO pattern -- we spent some time reviewing the pattern again; I have been ending it wrong.  I'm supposed to end with BXOs around the end of the rink and then step forward, I've just been stepping forward after the last lobe.  We worked on this a bunch to get the BXOs to flow better.  We also did our time trial -- 1:11.  I'm disappointed, that is rather slower than last week.  Grrr.
  • Spins -- some more time on spins, still trying to get it all together at the same time.  Not much progress.  JJ also had me work briefly on backspins from a two-foot spin (I did these with Anna like 6 years ago!).  Yikes!
  • Spirals --  just a little time on these, both forward and (yow!) back.  I'd never done back spiral before, it is pretty scary to me.  Also I wanted to do them on a BO edge, apparently -- doing one with just a flat was pretty challenging.
I'm feeling a bit frustrated with my progress right now.  It doesn't help that I feel like I'm not getting much ice time for freestyle (that's my own fault!).  Grrr.

After my lesson I stayed and skated the next session and worked on pretty much all the Bronze moves.  Bleah.

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