Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I skated for an hour at Chandler since they had Sunday a.m. freestyle time.  Had an okay skate, no big breakthroughs.  Worked on moves, spins and jumps.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ice Dance Class #3-4

Tonight's ice dance class at the Ice Den.  We were on the Ice Den rink instead of the RJM (a.k.a. South) rink.  We had 3 kids and 3 adults.  Instructors were Tim and Veronica -- no Don nor Katie.

We ran through some warmups with FO swingrolls, FI swingrolls, slide chassés to swing rolls, slaloms (from the Cha Cha pattern) and BO swingrolls (eep).  Then on to the DW, CT and RB (lots of time on each of them) and just a little time at the end on the Swing Dance and Cha Cha.

I am feeling relatively comfortable with the first three dances, as in, I pretty much know the steps now; so I guess that's a positive.  I thought my FO swingrolls were slightly improved tonight and I was skating maybe a smidge faster.  Of course there's still the usual litany of things I am not doing, or not doing well, yet:

  • my progressives are just crossovers, and they are too slow
  • my swing rolls don't curve enough and are too slow
  • I can't do the RB cross-behind
Still..  a good day.  Only two classes left!



My second back-3 lesson with Lynne, on the Chandler coffee club.

We started by going through back 2-foot turns, and BO3s on the wall.  Then we went out on the big circle and worked on them some more.  Lynne had me skate backward, rotate the arms, lift the free foot in front, and then try to turn -- lift the toes, look back over the shoulder.  It's not quite happening yet.  We worked on both sides and while I didn't get  any turns yet, I feel like I'm making progress.  First, I wasn't too scared, which seems very positive.  Second, I did manage several times to lift the toes a bit and I feel like if I can keep working on it I will get them.  So I'm pretty enthused.

In my warmup before the lesson I did a really nice 3-rev spin!  Yay! :-)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waltz-8, BO8, Serpentines, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual. Lynne came on the ice as I was finishing up the Preliminary test warmup I usually do.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- the R side is looking pretty good. L side I still need to work on holding the BO edge across a bit more.  Lynne suggested it would be helpful at this point to dig out my scribe and start working on the waltz-8 from a tracing.
  • BO8 -- these are flowing really well, but we started looking at the tracing.  I'm not doing a good job.   Lynne also suggested it might be time for me to fix the free foot/leg position on the RBO :-) so that it's "pretty" and not more like "landing position"... lol.  I tried it and had some success.  I'll have to work on this more.
  • serpentines -- the change of edge is better now that I have sharper blades but we worked on crossing the axis straight (not diagonally) and trying to get a faster/more definite change of edge.  Hmmph.
  • 3s to center -- about the same.
After my lesson I worked on BI8 a bit (some small improvement!) and more waltz-8.

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Program Work, Waltz-Toe, Spins

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS.  As has been usual lately, just me and Amber skating this session.

Today's lesson:
  • program work -- we continued to work on the revised opening of the program and ran it twice with music.  It's better and now that I'm able to do it I'm liking it more than the original beginning; the timing is a little different and I am able to do the crossovers without heading into the corner so much.  The spiral still needs improvement, of course, but the whole thing is coming along nicely.
  • waltz-toe loop -- this is getting closer.  JJ continued to work with me on getting the whole body turned in the entry just before the takeoff.  The setup from the waltz jump is good now.
  • spins -- ugh.  These were pretty much all icky, although I did a nice one in my warmup.  Grr.
After my lesson I stayed for the next session and had private ice the whole time!  I worked on jumps and spins and some moves also.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.  I got my blades sharpened on Friday so this was my first time with them newly sharp.

Warmed up with the Preliminary test, as usual, then on to 3s to center, serpentines, BI8, BO8, and finished off with some more waltz-8.  The sharpened blades made a big difference!  My 3s were much better (less skidded), and my change of edge was better too. 

BI8 were pretty stinky :-(.  On the waltz-8 I drew the lines on the ice for the final FO edge to try to make myself step around more, and while I didn't make it all the way, I had a lot of improvement.  I'll have to keep doing that, I think, until I'm getting better at it.  It's helping.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ice Dance Class #3-3

Ice dance class at the Ice Den.  We were back to the back ice for class.  Freshly surfaced ice, but the Coyotes had been practicing on it right before so it was still a bit bumpy.

I got my blades sharpened right before class (I was way overdue).  As it turned out that was a pretty dumb thing to do!

We ran through warmups -- swing rolls, chassés, slaloms, etc.  I keep feeling like I don't know what I am supposed to do in these warmups.  Then we went on to work on DW, CT, RB and later a bit of the Swing Dance and Cha Cha.  Geez.  Don't think I made any really progress from last week, although I am remembering the steps on the DW and CT a lot better.  But my swing rolls still stink, my progressives are just crossovers, and I can't do that nasty cross-behind in the RB.  Bleah.


Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  It was a nice session, fresh ice and only 4 skaters the whole time.

Ran through the Preliminary test, then time on BI8, serpentines, 3s to center, and finished up with more time on the waltz-8.  I took some time to mark the circle where I should step forward on the waltz-8... yow.  I need to keep doing this, at least it let me see how much I have to fix.  Lots of work to do.  On the positive side the rest of the waltz-8 is definitely looking good now.  Yay!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waltz-8, Serpentines, 3s, BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, and Lynne came on the ice just as I was starting waltz-8.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- mmph.  Now that I've adopted a somewhat more methodical approach (see yesterday's practice blog) I am doing a *much* better job of placing the BO edge... so that's excellent.  The biggest challenge now is that I still need to do a much better job on the step forward so that it doesn't make my circle egg-shaped.  I'm actually somewhat encouraged because once I get this straightened out I should be in a position to actually think about a *gasp* test date.  So lots of motivation to get this last part done.
  • serpentines -- argh.  These are still sooooo frustrating.  I am still leaning out of the circle when I get ready to do the change of edge.  In frustration I tried really lifting my back hand/arm to try to really make myself stay on the FO edge when I moved the foot... it helped a bit.  
  • 3s to center -- right off the bat my RFO3 was really, really nice... so of course I couldn't do another one that nice.  Ha!  The rest were okay, but still trying to improve the check.
  • BO8 -- finished up with these. Just okay.  I need to be more consistent about my first push.
After my lesson I worked on BI8 a bit, and then some more waltz-8.

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Program Work & Waltz-Toe

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

Today's lesson:
  • program work -- we worked through the first part of the program again, this time with music. It's a good thing we did, because I was trying to go too far down-ice!    I was running out of time.  Instead I need to bring it around immediately after the 3-turn.  We also worked on pushing harder/more and getting more speed into the spiral.   It's definitely improved.
  • waltz-toe loop combo -- more work on this.  Now that I'm getting the check on the waltz jump correct, JJ worked with me on getting the upper body to rotate with the R foot coming through.  Tried it out on the ice a few times and JJ says I'm making progress, although to me it feels more like a jumbled mess.
After my lesson I stayed and skated the next session, working on spins, the waltz-toe combo, my back 2-foot turns and a bunch of moves.  I also dug out the dance CD Tracy gave me on Sunday and played through the Dutch Waltz. Ugh!  My swing rolls really stink.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Figures Blog Post

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a friend of Lynne's who is a blogger had come out to observe the patch class and also my lesson.  Here's her blog post about it.  It's well worth looking at, it includes video of Lynne's figures at Nationals, as well as the patch class, a brief clip of my lesson and interviews with Lynne.

Patch Practice

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.

This was my first time skating on the newly-redone ice on the North Pole.  It is really nice!  I was concerned since I'd heard it reported that it was a bit rough on Saturday when DISCOA had their exhibition; but apparently they've had time since then to get it finished up.  It's really nice.

I ran the Preliminary test as usual, then did BI8, 3s to center, more time on the waltz-8, and serpentines.  On the waltz-8 I drew a line where the step forward should be and worked to make myself hold the BO edge to that point.  It did help.  I've found that if I count to 4 (most people count to 3, clearly I'm just slow :-) ) for each part that seems to be about right -- i.e. 1-2-3-4-FO3-1-2-3-4-step-to-BO-1-2-3-4-pass-arms-1-2-3-4-step-forward etc.  Now if I can just do that all the time!

Serpentines and 3s to center about the same... I'm very frustrated with them right now but I'll keep plugging away.  BI8...maybe a very small amount of progress.

My patch blades are desperately in need of sharpening so I know that's not helping any.  I hope to get them sharpened on Friday when I'm at Ice Den for dance class.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Chandler is having Sunday morning ice time this month, so I skated for an hour (skate buddy Tracy was also there!).  Had an okay skate, worked on spins, salchow, and some moves.  Nothing exciting to report.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ice Dance Class #3-2

Ice dance class at the Ice Den... we were on a different rink today.  I can never remember the names, but it's the one on the right when you walk in.

There were 5 of us, three kids and two adults.  Tim was not teaching, just Don, Veronica and Katie. We warmed up with slaloms, swing rolls, and chassés.  Then on to the DW, CT and RB for most of the time.  The last few minutes we looked at the Swing Dance.

I've noticed that when I'm going fast (for me) I'm really not getting on a good outside edge, which is a large part of my problem.  I think it's probably fear, as my toes are kind of gripping the bottom of my boot and I can't seem to put my weight into the side of my foot for the edge.  Grrr.   Stuff to work on.



Today was my first back-3 lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I had a few minutes to warmup.  It was awesome!  The ice was freshly zammed and beautiful and I just felt good.

Today's lesson:
  • back 2-foot turn -- Lynne suggested we start with these. I had done these a lonnnnng time ago.  Emphasis on "lifting the toes" for the turn and keeping the feet together.  It took me a while but eventually I was making some progress.  Weirdly enough the CW turn was easier/better than the CCW turn.  
  • BO3 on the wall -- Lynne had me work on these against the wall.  A little scary!  We're starting with the BO3s, the BI3s will be later apparently.  Anyway my homework is to keep working these against the wall (as well as the back 2-foot turn).
A short (it's only 20 minutes) but sweet lesson!  It felt nice to work on something new.  We'll do these every other Friday, it looks like.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Eeyore Skate

There was late ice at Chandler so I skated for an hour (5:45 - 6:45).  Not my best skate -- I was kind of tired from a long day and earlier patch practice, and of course the ice was pretty ukky since it had not been zammed since 11:45, probably.  Yech.  I did get some good spins in, though, in spite of everything.  That was about it though.

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  The usual stuff -- Preliminary test for warmup, BO8s, serpentines, 3s to center.  A friend worked with me a little on the serpentines -- she pointed out that it might help just to practice the change of edge more in a smaller circle and working to have a better edge.  I worked on them for about 15 minutes.  I'll have to play with that some more.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BI8, Waltz-8, Serpentines, 3s To Center

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  Lynne needed a later start today so I had a much longer warmup than usual.  I ran through the Preliminary test, then worked on BO8.

Today's lesson:
  • BI8 -- these are slowly getting better.  Lynne worked with me on the LBI push -- I really need to turn that skating foot (R foot in this case) before the step-down and get a good push.  We made some progress.
  • waltz-8 -- some progress on these as well -- this set was much better than in my warmup :-).  I still need to work harder and flowing it across the top of the circle (the BO edge) as the top of the BO edge tends to be shifted early... grrr.
  • serpentines -- ugh. still working to get the FOI change of edge to be more definite and quick.  Grrr.
  • 3s to center --  I'm getting pretty good flow through the turn now on these, but still need to check better.  Lynne says that now that I can reliably do the turn I need to almost anticipate the check so that I come out stronger and more checked.  Eeep.
After my lesson, I talked with Lynne about back-3s (I had discussed these with JJ this morning).  I'm going to have an additional 20-minute lesson with Lynne to work on these about every other week.  We'll work on them in my freestyle blades, not patch.  We're starting this Friday!  I'm stoked.

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Program Prep, Waltz-Toe

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual.  It was just two of us (me and Amber) for most of the session.. yay!

Today's lesson:
  • Program -- we walked through/practiced the new opening of the program several times.  It's gotten much better, and I am now getting a little speed into the spiral so that is helping a lot.  I still need to work on getting the leg higher (of course) faster.  The flow seems okay though.
  • waltz-toe loop -- quite a bit of time on this.  Key learning from today is that I need to check the landing of the waltz jump so that the upper body is in position for the toe loop.. DUH.  That is, don't let the upper body rotate to neutral, but stay w/R arm back and L arm forward.  This helped a lot.  I almost got a jump out of it, but not quite..
After my lesson I stayed through the next session and worked mostly on moves.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice today, as usual.  I had an okay skate.  Ran through the Preliminary test, then BO8, 3s to center, serpentines, and finished with BI8 and a little more waltz-8.

No big breakthroughs today.  Waltz-8.. I felt like I was returning to center better, but in looking at the print I had reverted to stepping forward too soon so maybe that's why.  Grrr.  BI8 the R foot and opening push are actually not that bad, but ironically the LBI push is weak.  Grr, again.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Insomnia Skate

As happens to me occasionally, I couldn't sleep a wink last night.  Finally, when 5 a.m. rolled around I threw my skate gear on and drove to the rink.  By the time I got my skates on and got on the ice it was 5:45 am.

I skated for an hour.  I actually had quite a good skate!  My very first spin was 4 revs!  None of the subsequent ones were quite as good (I really hate that!) but I had a lot of pretty good spins.  Toward the end of the hour they declined in quality as I was having trouble getting over my left side -- but then I thought about it and compensated more and the last couple were again pretty good.

Besides spins I did some salchows and waltz jumps and worked a little on moves.  I also spent some time going over the first part of the program in its new form... it's still kinda rough.  I am going to have to get more speed up otherwise it's going to be the world's slowest spiral.  Ugh.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Ran the Preliminary test as usual, then BO8, BI8, 3s to center and serpentines.  I spent some time working just on change of edge.  I also spent some time at the very end reviewing FI3s... eeep!  These are pretty stinky.

Drills, Program Work

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert, as usual.  Nice ice and only 2 of us on the session (Amber and I).  Before my lesson I warmed up and did a really nice spin... it was encouraging.

Today's lesson:
  • Drills -- JJ showed me a couple of hockey-puck drills he'd like me to work with a bit.  The first is -- standing on the L foot (facing the boards), R foot extended behind w/puck under the toepick; holding the toepick on the ice, bring the R foot out and around into a spin, keeping the weight forward on the ball of the L foot.  The second was a crossover drill; standing on the L foot (parallel to the boards) with R foot extended back w/toepick on the puck; bend the L knee and extended the R foot behind/crossed under.
  • Program work -- JJ wanted to review the first part of the program with the changes we've made.  We ran it with music... ugh! The spiral->half flip->lunge->spin part is okay, it's mostly getting the footwork part correct in the new configuration.  I am not clear on where I need to be on the ice, exactly; I need to work on it more.  I also need to get more speed up so that I come out of the spiral and still have some speed going into the half flip.  Hmmph.
After my lesson we talked a bit more about some issues, both the new artistic program and also learning back-3s.  No firm decisions there yet.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

BI8, Serpentines, 3s To Center

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  It was moved up from the usual Wed. slot as Lynne had a blogger friend (Jaya, I think it was) who wanted to observe the patch class and my lesson as she's writing up something about school figures.

I warmed up with the Preliminary test, as usual, and then did another set of waltz-8 and some BO8 as Lynne came on the ice.

Today's lesson:
  • BI8 -- ugh.  Hadn't looked at these in a while in lesson, though of course I had practiced them.  They have improved somewhat since the last time Lynne saw them.  The weakest parts are probably the first push (of course) and the second half of the LBI. I worked harder today at keeping the free foot in front in the first half and not letting it pop out on the second half (it only wants to do that on the LBI, not the RBI).  It's getting better but a lonnnng way to go.
  • Serpentines -- we practiced just the change of edge for a bit before going on with these.  I actually managed to get around on the L side for once!  It had been a long time since that's happened.  Of course once I got to the RFIO it was not so great.  
  • 3s to center -- I did some really nice ones, but most of them not so great.  I do still really need to improve the check, especially on the L foot.
All in all a good lesson.

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Monday, April 02, 2012


Chandler had some evening FS (Gilbert did too) so I skated there this evening on the 5:15.  Had an okay skate.  I worked a lot on spins and they are improved... but the best I can seem to do is 3 revs.  Grrr.

I also worked on salchow and some moves.  Nothing too exciting there.