Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eeyore Skate

I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  I had a really dispiriting skate.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, then on to more waltz-8.  Yuck.  I had a horrible time finding my center.  Then to BO8 where I also couldn't find my center, my flow was horrible, and my pushing just barely adequate.  Bleah.

Went on to work on 3s to center and serpentines.  3s were about the same, serpentines... yuck.  My change of edge was just really bad, every time.  I couldn't keep my free hip lifted and lost a lot of flow on the change of edge.  Yuck.

Don't know what was going on today, but I hope it's better before tomorrow's lesson.

Monday, January 30, 2012


I actually managed to haul my butt out of bed and go skate this morning... YAY ME!

I had a pretty good skate.  Warmed up with moves... FXO-BXO pattern felt pretty good.  BXOs to landing position.. I am really on my toe on the BO edge :-(. 

Worked on spins and jumps most of the time.  Salchows were decent, no really good spins.  Did a program runthrough w/music, managed to fall coming out of the BXOs in the first part (stepped forward, caught my toepick).  Oh well.  I need to be faster at getting up!  I omitted the half-flip and the spin (did the lunge though!) and then into the 2nd half.

Finished up w/more jumps and spins, and did a pretty decent circle-8.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ice Dance Class #1-4

Tonight's ice dance class at Ice Den.   6 kids ( missing the older girl who was there last week, but the boy was back) and 3 adults including me.

Despite the "threat" of learning new dances (lol!) we continued working on Dutch Waltz, Canasta Tango and Rhythm Blues.  We warmed up with various dance moves forward AND backward (which was new), then into the dances.
I am pretty frustrated (mostly by my "progressives" and swing rolls) but objectively it was better tonight than last week.  I am remembering the steps better (not 100%) and skating a bit faster and I did actually manage a couple of progressives that were actually on beat (that's a first).


Friday, January 27, 2012

Waltz-8, B8,3s To Center

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club; we postponed from Wednesday due to a conflict. I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, then went back and did more waltz-8 and some BO-8.

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- We went back to woodshed these some more.  The 3s are improved but I was not holding the turn exit long enough, nor the BO edge.  They improved a bit.  I'm not being very consistent on these; it's frustrating.
  • BO8 -- Not too bad.  the last half of the LBO is a little shallow still.
  • BI8 -- yow.  Okay, maybe a bit better.  I'm doing a better job of holding the actual BI edge; it's mostly that the push is still lacking.  Need to keep working on it!
  • 3s To Center -- just a little bit on these... about the same.  Flow through the turn has improved, so it's mostly the weakness of the BI edge that's getting me now.
All in all a pretty good lesson.  Ice dance class tonight!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  I don't usually get to skate Thursdays but a work meeting that conflicts was cancelled, so off I went.

I had a pretty good skate.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, then went back and spent more time on the waltz-8 with some improvement... at least, I managed to stop putting my foot down on the step forward on the R side.  That's progress.

Beyond that I worked on BO8, BI8 (improving!), 3s to center (about the same)  and serpentines (not improving :-( ).

Program Prep, Etc.

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

Before we started work, I discussed with JJ that I'd been considering keeping my free skate program ("Battle for the Beat", currently) for two years instead of retiring it after Sectionals.  The idea is that I would keep this free skate for two years (of course we can tweak it to make it better), and that I would also learn an artistic (dramatic, probably) after Sectionals.  Thereafter I could keep each program for two years and I'd learn only one new program per year.  JJ thought that was quite workable... so that's what we'll do.

Today's lesson was mostly focused on program prep.  JJ had me run through the different chunks of the program and we worked on some problem areas, then ran the program with music.. yuck.  Not so great. I'm kind of confused how I could do so well last week and so badly this week, but JJ says I need to work the adjustments that we've made and not worry so much.

At the end of the lesson we worked on a sculling exercise that JJ thought might help me increase my speed and tempo.  Hmmph.

After my lesson I stayed through the next session (had the ice to myself!) and worked on some dance stuff and moves.  Power-3s were a bit better today -- not much power but better control.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Worked on pretty much everything; warmed up with the Preliminary test, then went on to BO8, BI8, 3s to center and serpentines.  Waltz-8 was pretty yucky but I wasn't in the mood to work on them today.  BI8s are getting a little better; I need to work them a lot more.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Skatin' Wit Da Homies

I was down in Tucson to skate with my TFSC homies at TCC.  This is our new format, 1/3 ice for LTS for the first half hour and then shared ice w/the LTS doing their practice time...  We had 4 LTS skaters, I was told there were 6 yesterday.  For a program that just started and with minimal advertising, that's pretty good!

I worked a bit on dance stuff, with some very helpful input from Bob.  Then I went on to work on moves, mostly power-3s (ugh).  I also spent some time on spins and waltz jump and that was about it. I was a bit social :-( :-).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ice Dance Class #1-3

Today's ice dance class at Ice Den.  We had 6 kids (one new older girl, and the boy that was there last week wasn't there tonight), and one new adult who was visiting and dropped in.  We had "only" 2 coaches & a junior coach though.

Most of class was the same stuff as last week, warm up with progressives, swing rolls, and slide chassés and also cross rolls, which I can do about as badly as my swing rolls.  Then a bunch of time on DW, CT and RB, a little work on partnering, and at the end some work on the cross-behinds in the RB and an intro to twizzles (!).

I am, I think, skating a bit faster.  I'm also remember the steps a bit better (so, of course, next week they are going to start us on new dances).  I'm still rather frustrated though -- this reminds me of why I've not liked group classes in the past.  I feel like I need to actually learn to do some of these things and there's not time:
  • my "progressives" aren't really progressives, they are pretty much crossovers
  • my swing rolls don't swing very much and my edges are not deep enough 
  • I can't do the cross-behinds in the RB
It's very frustrating.  At the same time I do think I am skating faster because I'm trying to keep up, and that is something.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

GREAT Lesson!

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

Today's lesson:
  • Time trial -- we ran the FXO-BXO time trial.   I usually hate doing this at the beginning of the lesson but we had a lot to cover, so off we went.  I did my BEST EVER time, 59.8s!  That's 2 s faster than my previous best and the first time under a minute.  YAY!  It felt good.  JJ said my first couple BXOs were smoother than the last ones and also that I'm losing some time/speed on the CW FXOs (what a shock).
  • Power-3s -- ugh.  These were Not Good.  Even the L side wasn't good (actually, it was worse than the R side, go figure).   JJ reminded me that I need to be looking INTO the circle on the BXO lobe, this is part of the reason it feels so awkward to me.  I need to work on this.
  • Program -- we spent the last 15-18 minutes of the lesson on the program.  We did a runthrough w/music and was GREAT.  Seriously, I think it was the best I've ever done this program. The first spin was really good!  Jumps were all pretty good, good speed and flow.  The only thing I would fault is that I spaced and didn't make the change at the end that we put in last week.  We took a couple of minutes to talk through it and I practiced that part that I missed and then we ran it again.  It was not as good :-(.  I have this a lot; JJ says I need to just start each run fresh and not compare to the previous one.  I know what I need to do, just go do it.  He's right of course.  I'll have to work on re-thinking that.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Workin' It

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual,which was really necessary since I'd not skated in my patch blades for over a week.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- we continued working on these since I had just finished them when Lynne came on the ice.  These are improving but at a verrrry slowww rate.  Grr.
  • BO8 -- Just one layout.  Actually really nice today!  I was really happy.  Tracing not so great, but I had really good flow on both sides and came back to center pretty well.
  • BI8 -- these are definitely a work in progress.  Lynne and I both agreed that I need to improve my BI edges if I'm going to have more success with my 3s to center.. speaking of which..
  • 3s to center -- these are improving..  The 3 itself is generally pretty good!  And reasonable flow through the turn, but then I'm not doing a good job of checking and esp. of controlling the BI edge after.  Evil thought -- I should work on the FI3s at some point.. before Lynne thinks of it..
  • serpentines -- these are coming along as well.  I actually made it around the full 1.5 circles twice, both times on the R foot.  L foot still lagging a bit.  In order to get around I have to have both a really good push AND good flow through the change of edge.  As I told Lynne, I don't have enough slop in my technique to make it around if I don't do great at both of those.  By the time I test these I'll have to have both points a bit higher than absolutely necessary to account for nerves etc.
All in all a really good lesson, I thought.  After my lesson I worked on BI8s a bit.

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I managed to drag my butt to the 8:15 FS at Chandler this morning...finally! 

I had a pretty good skate.  I decided I need to be a bit more disciplined than I have been lately so I pulled out my practice notebook and kept track of what I did just like I used to last year.

Warmed up with moves and also some swing rolls... still need more speed and push here.

I did 5 each of the jumps I have, and about 15 spins.  Spins were kinda ukky but they did improve a bit... I know I just need lots more practice than I've been getting.  Salchow actually wasn't bad... toe loops bleah!  I also ran my program once with music... a little bit off both due to my errors, and because Teri had a student working right where I needed to go :-(.  I fell on the lunge, grrr.  Managed to get up and keep going but I was a bit behind.  Still, it's good practice.

Finished off the session with Bronze circle-8, it was actually okay.

I bought my plane tickets for PCAS this week, I still have to actually register and also get hotel and rental car.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ice Dance Class #1-2

Today's ice dance class at the Ice Den.  We had two more kids join the class, including one boy, for a total of 6 kids and 3 adults.  We had the same instructors as last week -- Veronica, who was the lead teacher, Julie, Tim (he coaches at Arcadia and Oceanside, apparently) and junior coach Katie.

We started with some more warmups of edges, progressives, chassés and so forth.  Then we went back to the Dutch Waltz, Canasta Tango and Rhythm Blues.  I've determined that part of my problem is that my swing rolls are so un-curved, so straight, that it's hard to do whatever is supposed to come after them.  Tim and Julie both worked with me on that, and Tim emphasized that you have to stay with the beat (as I said, just like sightreading!) no matter what.

We also spent a little time being introduced to the Killian and reverse Killian holds, which I already knew anyway.  I didn't try partnering anyone except that Veronica made me try it with her once.  A little scary at times but at least I didn't take her down!

I was maybe a little faster today than last week, and it went a little better.  I still feel like I'm waaaay behind everyone.  They had us doing a lap of progressives and the kids all lapped me.  Sigh..


Program Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert; moved from yesterday due to my travel.

We started today's lesson with another time trial.  My time today was 1:07; 5 seconds longer than last week.  Grr.  We talked about it a bit.  I really need to push harder, all the time -- even in the transitions.

We then went on and ran the program twice with music.  The first time was pretty rough!  The second time was much better but still rough -- biffed the salchow, spins were awful.  JJ wants to change the end a little bit so that after the traveling RFI3s I do a back crossover (maybe 2) straight into the final spin.  Before I was stepping forward and then into the spin.  This should save a little time and look better, too.

I was supposed to have a figures lesson with Lynne at lunchtime at Chandler, but an old friend I'd not seen in 5 years (she lives in the Midwest) had an unexpected layover at Sky Harbor so I texted Lynne and cancelled my lesson.

Off to the Ice Den tonight for ice dance class at 5:30.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Nice ice and most of the time only myself and Ken (a very "testosterony" session, lol!).

Warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, then BO8 (they were better flow-wise but not happy with my tracing/centering).  Back to waltz-8 and made myself move the 3 out a bit and that helped things a bit.. note to self!

Finished up with 3s to center and serpentines.  3s are about the same, better flow through but still no check. I'm thinking I'm going to need to seriously improve my BI edges to fix that.  Serpentines... I actually made it around 1.5 circles on the R foot, twice, but not on the L foot.  It's not consistent yet.  I need a really strong push and a nice smooth edge change to make it and I seem to rarely get both at this point.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


I had intended to go to Tucson this morning to skate with my Tucson FSC homies, but I realized I had a bunch of work I needed to get done since I will be traveling next week, so I stayed home.  I did travel over to Chandler though since they had an unexpected 1.5 hour adult skate from 12:30 to 2.  I only got 45 minutes of skating in though.

I worked a bunch on moves.  Power-3s are improving; okay, there's very little power there yet but the 3s are more controlled and I don't feel like I'm flailing around so that is a bonus. 5-step mohawk is better but the LBO still feels weird and the step forward is wonky.  Circle-8s, I actually got around just fine no problems!  Of course the ice was really good :-).  And perimeter XOs and BXOs to landing position felt pretty good.

Some time on jumps.  No progress on toe loop, but salchow I feel like I'm improving my timing.  Now if I just had some actual "jump" in it, it would be something.

Also spent a little time on Dutch Waltz and Canasta Tango.  Dutch Waltz I felt like I could do the steps finally, but I sure don't fill out the ice and my swing rolls are more like swing flats :-(.  CT is still confusing.  Oh well.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Ice Dance Class #1-1

I had my first ice dance group lesson at the Ice Den.  I managed to get off work at 4:30 and made it up to the Den by 5:10 -- traffic was not nearly as bad as I was expecting (it's 25 miles).  So I was all ready to go with plenty of time to spare.

There were 7 of us in the class, 4 kids and 3 adults.  I was the only male.  We had 3 (!) instructors (Julie, Tim, and I can't remember the main instructor's name ;-( ), and a junior coach (Katie) helping out... kind of overkill but it was nice.

We started with a warmup of stroking, swizzles, slaloms etc.  I'd forgotten how hard a lap of swizzles is!  My quads were complaining :-(.  Then we worked on edges, swing rolls, progressives, chassés,  and slide chassés.  I'm really grateful to my first coach, Anna, because my chassés and slide chassés were pretty good actually! 

After that we started with the Dutch Waltz.  We talked over the steps and then we worked through it a few times, then with music.  I had a really hard time remembering the steps -- I really should have looked at it before class!  Grrr.

Then we went on to the Canasta Tango.  Same procedure.  I got rather lost and one of the instructors, Julie, grabbed my hand and guide-dogged me through it several times.  I can do the moves I just could not for the life of me remember them :-( which was a problem I really didn't expect to have.  I felt kind of dumb to have to have her help, but I was grateful for it.

Then, since we were doing really well, apparently, we went ahead to the dreaded Rhythm Blues (yes, the one with the stripper music, lol!  Although we actually had "Blueberry Hill") with the tuck-behinds.  I totally can't do those and Tim suggested I just do a slide chassé for now.  Hmmph.  Anyway I was pretty much totally lost on this dance.

One quick repeat of the Dutch Waltz and we were out of time... until next week!

It was definitely a good workout!  I wasn't too happy with how I did, I was definitely the slowest person all the time and I really stunk at the steps.  On the other hand I had nicer slide chassés than most of the others (they kept turning their feet out?).  I particularly noticed that I have a hard time getting a nice curve on my swing rolls -- it seems like others have a deeper edge and more lean than I do on the outside swing rolls :-(.  Grr.

Anyway I will definitely have to look at this stuff (at SOME point) before next class.


Friday, January 06, 2012


I skated the Chandler coffee club, this time for freestyle practice instead of patch as usual.  Ice was nice but session was relatively crowded (11 skaters and 2 coaches).

I had a pretty good skate, worked a bit on moves, jumps, and spins. Nothing exciting but the sharpened blades feel fine and it felt good.

I am off to the Ice Den this evening for my first ice dance class!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Field Trip

My figures lesson with Lynne on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.   Usually this session is uncrowded (like 3 skaters) and good ice, which is why Lynne and I thought it would work since we couldn't find another time to have a lesson this week.

Unfortunately the ice was kinda crappy (see below) and presumably because school isn't back in session for quite everyone, it was relatively crowded -- about 6 skaters (including a couple of higher level skaters) and like 4 coaches.  So not great conditions -- but hey, it's a learning experience, right?

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- these were pretty bad.  Between the ice, and just me... yuck.  I was having trouble just getting around the circle and I couldn't see where I was going at all.  Very frustrating.
  • Waltz-8 -- these actually are slowly improving, especially when I make myself hold the BO edge longer.  Lynne also pointed out I needed to hold the exit from the LFO3 longer and that helped.  I'm still putting my foot down on the R foot step-forward... that's gotta stop.
  • 3s to center -- these are about where they were, although I noticed I am coming out of the turn with a better position. I think if I had more speed/flow going in I would do better at holding it around.
It was quite weird to get off the ice, change my skates and get back on... the change of blades was a bit weird for me.  We probably won't try this again unless we have to, hopefully conditions will be back to their usual next week.

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Back To The Beat

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I was on freshly-sharpened blades (had them done last Saturday and hadn't skated in them yet :-() but they were pretty much okay.  The session was relatively crowded (about 9 skaters and 4 or 5 coaches).  The ice was kinda stinky, which is rather unusual for Gilbert. 

Today's lesson:
  • Time trial --we ran the FXO-BXO perimeter Bronze move and I had my best time in a while -- 1:02!  Maybe that's my best time ever, I've not checked yet.  If it's not it's close.  Awesome!  I didn't feel like I was going particularly fast so I'll ascribe the improvement to getting the BXO part down better.
  • Program -- we spent most of our time getting back into my "Battle for the Beat" program after a couple of months away.  We ran the first part of the program a few times... I am definitely getting more power, I was going rather faster through the opening which might actually throw my timing off.  We then ran the second part a couple of times and it was a bit rough.  Toe loop still not too great.  There will definitely be some cleanup to do.
  • Salchow -- just a little time on these at the end, working on improving my timing a bit.  I managed to hold the BI edge longer but then it got me confused as to when to jump.  Ugh.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I was supposed to have a figures lesson today but Lynne and I had a miscommunication and so it didn't happen, however we are going to do it tomorrow morning at Gilbert after my freestyle lesson with JJ.

So.. I had an hour of patch practice at Chandler.  Ugh!  BO8 was almost as bad as yesterday.  Serpentines -- not quite as good as yesterday.  And 3s to center about the same.  Grrrr.  I'm frustrated.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice today... only 3 of us on the session, me, TFSC-er Bob, and skate buddy Melissa.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test, then spent quality time on BO8. Ugh!  My RBO was just not cooperating today, my body position was off and I had a hard time coming back to center.  The LBO feels a lot easier than it used to, though.

More time on 3s to center -- the 3 is really improving though I'm still not getting a good check after.  Serpentines.. I did manage to get back to center (1.5 circles) on the R foot!  Only once though, and not at all on the L foot.  Oh well.  Finished with a little more time on waltz-8 and a couple of BI8.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Ice Dance Class

After discussion with JJ and others, I decided to sign up for the beginning ice dance class that's being offered at the Ice Den Friday evenings.  I've not worked on dance much, and the last time was over 5 years ago, but I thought it might be fun and helpful for my skating.  It's a 6-week course so we'll see how it goes.  I'm not anticipating liking the commute much -- 25 miles through Friday evening rush hour traffic :-(.