Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, March 31, 2011


My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  As usual, good ice, not too crowded and it really clears out at 8!  I had some issues with the laces on my L boot in my warmup... they came off the hooks.  Wow, that's scary, especially since I was heading into a waltz jump at the time.  They are cotton laces (came with the boots) and I don't like them much.  I talked about it with JJ and I'm going to trade them out for nylon ASAP.

Today's lesson:
  • Power-3s -- We spent a good amount of (much-needed) time on these.  JJ made me do them down the line, each foot.  The L was not so great and the R... wow, really bad.  Then we spent some time working on just 3s, and specifically on getting more control.  Between JJ and Lynne this week I've spent a lot of time on this!  Geez.
  • Spins -- just a few of these.  I had done a really good one in the warmup, and I did some just-okay ones.  I am really inconsistent on getting my arms into the right position.  On the positive side (sort of!) apparently I actually can spin an entire rev on my toepick!  Wow, that is scary, lol.
  • Waltz jump -- just a little bit here.  Still trying to get my arms to come through correctly.  Grr.
  • Salchow -- just two of these.  Still not holding the exit from the 3.  Grrr.
I was really glad to have the time on the power-3s, I really need to work on these a lot more.

Next week's lesson moved to Tuesday due to a work trip.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  Ice was freshly surfaced and pretty nice!  I had a good warmup -- my FO8s were not bad and edges, FI8s also pretty good.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- after a somewhat ukky start, I proceeded to do the best BO8s I've ever done!  I was really on a roll.  The RBO has usually been good, but even the LBO was quite good.  I was doing a much better job of getting the free foot in front, and holding it steady, and on the LBO in particular I was finally really leaning into the edge!  I was really happy.
  • Waltz-8/FO3s -- went through these and the turns were pretty crappy, the BO edges were pretty good and the steps-forward were better than they have been (stepping to a good edge, although I wasn't stepping around as much as I should).  After a few repetitions we spent some time just working on FO3s because I'm so annoyed at how rotten they are.  We got some improvement out of them.  I think the keys in general were to be sure not to start the new circle on a diagonal (i.e. a better edge, not a flat); roll up on the toe more (how many times has Lynne told me that?!) and a certain quickness.  On the LFO3 I was tending to be too forward going into and after the turn so I made a concerted effort to hold my head up going into the turn and that helped a lot.
  • BI8 -- just a little time on these.  Lynne pointed out that I am making my circle too small to start because I'm not getting the foot turned out enough when I step to it -- I was able to fix this pretty well.  I am not getting enough power on the subsequent pushes either; Lynne and I worked on it a bit (I think we talked about this a few weeks ago also).  It's a bit tricky, really; coming into center one wants to then turn the skating foot out and push while striking onto the new skating foot.  Geez.  I think I will get this eventually.
All in all I was really pleased with my progress today!

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I skated the 8:15 FS at Chandler this morning.  Ice was in decent shape and only 3 skaters (including me) and 2 coaches so good conditions.

I am just trying to get used to these boots still.  It's getting better.  Worked on spins and jumps and moves.  Nothing particularly stands out but it's improving.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  There were only about 6 of us.  Had a pretty good skate, worked for at least a few minutes on pretty much everything.  I'm very frustrated by my 3s right now, they are still so darn bad.  Annnd, I really need to get over my unwillingness to hold the edge before turning.  Grr.

Friday, March 25, 2011


There was some Friday evening FS time at Gilbert (who knows why?  Just glad to have the time!) so I skated for 45 minutes.  Still breaking in the boots, it's getting a lot better.  I actually did some decent spins.  Spent a bunch of time working on basics... stroking, crossovers, 3s.  Bleah.  At least it wasn't crowded!  Just me, Michelle and Lovina.  Worked some on Bronze Moves too, mostly power 3s and 5-step mohawk.

Patch Practice

I skated the Chandler coffee club today for patch practice.  There was a hockey tournament going on so we were on the South Pole instead of the usual North Pole.  Skate buddy Jose was there (it's his usual practice time) working on his program for Adult Nationals.

I had a pretty good skate.  Worked a bunch on FO8s, BO8, BI8 and waltz-8.  The waltz-8 step forward is getting much better; I'm doing a better job of stepping onto a good FO and bending the skating knee more.  The FO3s are still pretty wonky though.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Skate Checkout

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Today's lesson was mostly about checking out my new boots/blades and being sure the mounting was okay.  We went through some one and two foot glides forward and back and outside edges.  After that some FO3s, waltz jump (nice spring today!), salchow, toe loop, and some spins.  I did a pretty good 4-rev spin and it for once it wasn't the first one, either!

Conclusion was that the mounting seems to be just fine.  JJ wants me to just get more time in the boots and see how things go.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PCAS 2011 Video

Here's the video from my PCAS 2011 Adult Pre-Bronze Free Skate.  The music is from "Apollo 13."

Pluggin' Away

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- I seem to have a problem with consistently getting that free foot in front from the beginning.  When I do it really helps a lot!  So I need to remind myself that I need to always practice them that way from the beginning so that it's automatic.  Still having issues with the 2nd half of the LBO... it seems like I either curve in too quickly or not enough!  I felt like Goldilocks...
  • Waltz-8 -- Urgggh.  FO3s were pretty bad to start with but they improved.  BO edge is pretty good these days. Step forward... urgh.  Still working on stepping onto a good edge and holding the free shoulder back.  Grr.
  • Serpentine -- When I can actually get a good FO edge to start with these are coming along kind of okay.  For today, just so-so, I only made it about a quarter-circle around after the FOI.
A little frustrating today but I know it will get better.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Breakin' In

I skipped Pilates today so I could skate at lunchtime and get more time in my new boots before my lesson Thursday.  I'm pleased to report that they didn't hurt at all today!  On the other hand I was only in them for 45 minutes, but still... encouraging.

They still feel kinda weird though.  I did a number of jumps and a few spins, lots of stroking and crossovers and some edges.  Spins are pretty wonky, waltz jumps were pretty nice. My one salchow of the day... eh.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Zoo Field Trip

I skated the noon public at Arcadia again.  Skate buddy Anna was there, and Tracy showed up later w/her mom in tow also.

This was only my second time in my new Riedells... I got in about 1.5 hours of skating.  Mostly just stroking and crossovers (and a lot of socializing) and a couple of waltz jumps and one spin.  It's just weird, but it got considerably better by the time I left so that is something.  I did have a dull ache in mid-foot though.  I am pretty sure it will be okay after a few more hours.

With the DST change (AZ doesn't observe it but all my coworkers in Oregon do!) I am going to have to move my FS lessons from Tuesdays to Thursdays, starting this coming week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BO8, Waltz-8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  I had a good warmup.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- these are getting back into shape.  When I actually get that free foot in front and hold it there, the first half of the RBO is really nice and stable and the whole thing is better.  So... we spent some time working on that :-).  LBO is getting better also.  Worked on standing more upright, especially on the 2nd half of the circle, and keeping the free foot close.
  • Waltz-8 -- we spent almost 20 minutes on these!  Working on each of the elements; trying to keep the free foot close on the 3, having a good BO edge, relaxing and really stepping to a good FO edge.  I realized I was helicoptering my arms into the LFO3, so we fixed that and that helped the check a lot and made for a better turn.
Sometimes I find it amazing that I spend so much time working on this stuff.  It is such basic skating, and I don't see anyone around me doing this kind of stuff (at least not this kind of time).  It can be a bit discouraging but I try to remind myself not to compare myself with others, just with the "last week" version of me.  I have to hope that all of this work will pay off at some point.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  Still getting used to my new boot/blade combination but it's getting much better.  FO8s.... are getting back to almost as good as they were. LFO is pretty good, actually, it's the RFO that's the issue now.

I spent a bunch of time on 3s, in isolation and in the waltz-8.  I've decided a significant part of my problem with skidding is (duh) that I am not on a very good edge when I turn.  So I spent some time just trying to hold the edge until it was solid, and then turn.  Not sure how much this helped but I think I will spend some more time on it.

Other than that I worked pretty much everything, include both FOI and FIOs in the serpentine.  It's getting slightly better.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I picked up my new skates last night at the new NW Skate Authorities store at WSC (formerly Valley Ice Arena).  Jim heated them for me for the heat-molding process and I slipped 'em on... and they fit great!  I had a nice conversation with Coach Sonya while I wore them, then snuck on the ice to move around in them a bit.  Came back and wore them a bit more, then took them off.

This morning I was over at Sherwood to skate at the morning public (had the day off) for an hour.  It went pretty well. The skates fit very well and my rough guess is that the blade alignment is fine, though I will let JJ be the final judge of that.  They feel weird, but that's just the "normal" weird.  The fit seems to be great though, no punching-out required.  Yay!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Settling In

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  With only 2 hours of time in the new boot/blade combo it was all about getting settled in to my skates and evaluating whether we need to make any adjustments or not.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- started off with these.  A bit wonky.  The LFO feels better than it did, RFO worse.  I'm having a hard time getting a good RFO edge and it's very frustrating.
  • Flat -- next Lynne had me just skate a flat down the line and see whether my blade alignment is okay.  It appears to be fine, or at least not seriously wrong.
  • BO8 -- these are not too bad, I'm doing a better job on the LBO 2nd half as far as sitting back and letting it curve around.
  • BI8 -- still a work in progress.  Relatively good control but circles are still small.
  • FO3s -- these are about where they were before -- we spent some time working on them on the side half-circle and at the boards.  Still need a lot of work to get them nice.
  • Waltz-8 -- these are about the same.  Not happy with the 3s, but the BO edge is not bad and the step forward on the RFO was pretty good (LFO, not so much).
So far it seems like it's coming along okay.  No patch time again until next week.  I will be up in Oregon tomorrow and pick up my new freestyle skates! YAY!

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.  9 skaters and a couple of coaches, so pretty nice.  I worked on pretty much all of my elements, still trying to get used to the new boot/blade combination.  Something a little weird going on with the LFO,  the initial edge is quite nice but then I was skidding a bit about 1/3 of the way into the circle; not sure what is up with that.  RFO feels just a bit weird.  BO and BI edges pretty good though.  Turns... pretty skidded, esp. the RFO3 but then that's nothing new.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

New Patch Boots

I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual, with my new patch boots complete with new blue laces (yay!).

All I could say at first was... whoa!  Very different feel with boots that actually fit and support.  I skated for an hour and by the end I felt reasonably comfortable with most things, though 3s are still a bit scary. I think the blade alignment is more-or-less okay but still want to reserve judgment until Lynne sees them.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Boot Transition

After my lesson today I went over to Custom Skate (Dave Kimmel) to get my patch blades moved to my Riedell Silver Stars.  It only took a few minutes, and I picked up some blue soakers for my (now new) patch boots.  Dave was impressed there was no rust on any of the screws or hardware of my boots, but hey, I take care of 'em! So now I can re-retire my Jackson Freestyles -- they are almost 8 years old!!

Tomorrow I will send my MK Pro Parabolic blades off to be mounted on my new Riedells that I will be picking up in Oregon a week from tomorrow!

BO8, Waltz-8, Serpentine

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I had a pretty good warmup and things were looking good.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- these were good in warmup and also pretty good in front of Lynne.  The RBO is quite strong.  LBO still a bit weaker but I'm doing a much better job of staying on the edge for the second half and coming back to center.  
  • Waltz-8 -- we spent a bunch of time on these.  Maybe some small improvement; we spent some time just working on the FO3s to try to keep the free foot close and improve the check.  Still a long way to go on these before they are testable.
  • Serpentine -- we worked on the FOI part of these and it's coming along; I'm still a half-circle short of finishing though so lots more to be done.  Lynne asked me to go ahead and try the FIO change of edge and wow, I was able to do it (albeit not well).  I was pretty jazzed about that!

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Patch Perseverance Pays!

I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  I was a bit tired and a little out of sorts... so of course I had a great skate!  I worked on pretty much everything I know how to do and almost everything was at least somewhat improved :-).  FO8s were pretty good, for some reason I was feeling really well-balanced over my blade.  Serpentines, the R side change of edge was improved, L side I am still struggling with.  BO8 and BI8 were both much improved!  Waltz-8 a bit better though still kinda rough on the step forward.


My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I only was able to skate the one session due to a work commitment.

Today's lesson:
  • directions -- I talked with JJ about my goals for the next 5 months or so (now until Cactus in July) and the two big things are the new program and Bronze moves.  The common thread for me at this point, and my takeaway from this most recent competition specifically, is that I want to improve my turns and footwork.  While there is plenty of improvement in my jump and (especially) spins, I think that in terms of improving my competition results I can improve my placements most by having better/stronger/more confident footwork.
  • turnout -- JJ gave me some exercises to do that will help me improve my turnout, which should make it possible to do things like spread eagles etc.  One of them is to lie flat on the floor on my stomach (JJ suggested putting a weight on my butt to assist gravity).  Another one is to stand in a doorway and put my feet turned out and lean into the doorway.
  • mohawks -- we spent some more time working on mohawks, to get them smoother.  JJ gave me an exercise of skating down a line, do an RFI mohawk on the R side of the line, change feet to the L side of the line, step forward.  He wanted me to do them pretty much straight out, or just on a very small curve.
And that was all we had time for!  JJ will be out of town, and I will be changing out my boots starting tomorrow, so no freestyle skating for me until I get my new boots late next week!

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