Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today -- just 45 minutes as I was short on time.

I warmed up with edges, then used my scribe to lay out a pair of circles and did FO8, FI8, another set of FO8 for good measure, then spent 20+ minutes working on waltz-8.  Grrr.  Don't feel like I am making much progress on this at all.  I finished up with about 10 minutes on serpentines.  About the same as Wednesday.

Moves Woodshedding

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  This was a make-up for last week's missed lesson.

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs -- I had warmed up with  BXOs to BO edges, and JJ had me work with the hockey stick behind my back some more to get the feeling of really turning into that edge.  It was a bit better.  It seems like one of the big things is to really take a moment after the BO edge to prep for the next BXO, and get turned into the new circle.  Some progress I think.
  • 5-step mohawk -- I did a whole pattern of these (I really need to do that ALL the time, not just sometimes!).  The BO edge is still a bit weak, and of course my mohawks are pretty atrocious.  We spent some quality time working on them at the wall.  I tend to hop them even though I know that's not how it's supposed to be.  So we worked on getting them to be more curved and not so straight, and to let the trailing foot actually come around.  Hmm.
After the lesson JJ spent some time with me answering questions about my off-ice routine.  I finally dragged myself to the gym yesterday to give it a go but I had some confusion about some of the elements.  It seems like we got them straightened out.  I hope so!

I'm off to Oregon this evening to attend NW Pacific Regionals in Eugene.  It looks like I will get to be the announcer for the non-qualifying events.  Yay!  I love announcing.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Preliminary Test

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.

There were some issues with the ice (they moved us to the South Pole right at noon, but lights had not yet been turned on so there was a delay) and Lynne had to start at noon, so we skipped scribing circles and went straight to the Preliminary Test.

Today's lesson:
  • Edges -- in general Lynne was pleased with these.  There were a couple of small glitches (I wasn't warmed up) but Lynne said they weren't that obvious.
  • FO8 -- had some issues with these when I started :-( but they were better after that.
  • FI8 -- L side quite good, R side a little wonky at times.
  • Waltz-8 -- eh.  R side not too bad, I was doing a good job of holding the BO edge longer . L side still pretty weak.
  • serpentines -- we finished up with these.  I'm doing a little better on not anticipating the change of edge, but the actual change is taking too long and I'm having some upper-body control issues immediately after.  Grrr.
After my lesson I spent some time on BO8 and BI8 (hadn't looked at these in quite some time) and then some time on 3s to center also.

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Basics & Introspection

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

We started off spending some time on back crossovers, as I was complaining about how I am too square in the perimeter crossovers for Bronze moves.  JJ made me hold a hockey stick behind my back and try to do BXOs.  Yow!  If you've never tried this, it's rather challenging.  I couldn't do more than back swizzles that way and even that was kinda scary.  We also spent some time on the wall just working on that position.  I'm realizing that my edges are just not deep enough, pretty much ever. (Cue Taylor Swift -- "Like... EVER").

After that we spent some time talking about my training routine and the off-ice training I am supposed to do but I'm not.  JJ mentioned that when  I first starting working with him I made a lot of progress rapidly, because I was getting more ice time than before... but then since I was not working out anymore, my progress tailed off and that's kind of where I am now.  So... stuff to think about.  I need to kind of get my act together a bit better in general and this is part of it.

After my lesson I skated the following session and spent most of it on power-3s and perimeter BXOs.  They are actually improving.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice... I was running late so I only got 45 minutes in.  Since I was short on time I didn't bring the scribe with me.

Warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual.  Waltz-8 was really bad, or maybe I'm just setting my expectations higher.  I was really, really frustrated.  Spent a lot of time working on the waltz-8 and I'm just feeling very frustrated with that whole BO-edge/step forward thing, it just stinks so badly.

I spent the last 10 minutes or so working on 3s.  I'm concluding (probably not for the first time) that when they stink it's largely because I'm going into them flat and forcing them around.  So it's as much an edge problem as everything else.  Which made me frustrated that I've been working seriously on figures for coming up on 3 years and I still have these issues!  Grrrr.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual; after I finished the FO8 and FI8 I scribed circles on top of the FO8, then continued with waltz-8.

Comparing the scribed circles with the FO8 tracings was both good and bad.  The good was that the circle size was roughly comparable.  The bad was that I'm still rather diagonal at the beginning of the circle; and the L side circle was noticeably smaller than the R side.  Still, not bad.

I worked on waltz-8 for about 30 or 35 minutes, and most of that just on the L side.  A good chunk of that was just working on the BO edge and step forward.  Yow.  It's so hard for me to be collected on this.  Grrr.

I finished up with 10 minutes or so on serpentines.  I finally was getting a better change of edge but not pushing hard enough.  Grr.


I had my biweekly back-3 lesson with Lynne this morning on the 8:15 a.m. FS at Chandler.  For some reason they did an ice cut right before I got on the ice.... wasn't scheduled but I sure wasn't complaining.

We went through our standard routine -- back two-foot turns, then BO3s on the wall, then back out on the ice.  The RBO3 is getting a lot better.  Not scary and the turn is coming easier, although I'm still not flowing out after.  LBO3 is still not happening.  I need to work more on just holding the LBO edge I think.  Grrr.

After my lesson I had about 25 minutes so I worked some more on moves, then ran my dramatic program with music (first time in like a month).  A bit rough...

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Home Club Skate

I was down in Tucson this morning to skate with the Tucson FSC (my home club).  We had a 1.5 hour chunk of ice time.  It was a nice session, not crowded (lol).  I brought the new boom box I bought for the club and it's a big win!  It actually has enough BOOM to be heard around the arena.  Besides the obvious entertainment aspect it enables folks to practice their programs... yay!

I mostly worked on moves, and mostly power-3s and 5-step mohawk.  The L side of the power-3s is a lot better.  R side, not so much.  5-step... well, my mohawks are still crappy and I really am going to need to spend some time one of these days to fix them; if I were a judge I wouldn't pass me with them the way they are.  All in all a good skate!

This evening after I got back home I worked on updating the Tucson FSC website -- it hadn't really been updated since 2006.  It's pretty basic but at least it has correct info now.  Check it out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waltz-8 & 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club, as usual.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual; Lynne came on the ice after I'd finished the warmup.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- lots of time on these.  We worked on having a better BO edge ( "treat it just like any other BO edge!") with some success (deja vu from my lesson with JJ this morning!).  I also realized that when my exit from the 3 goes out wide, it's probably because I was very diagonal going into the turn (not a good curve/edge).  So that is something that is fixable and it was better.  Finally we spent some time working on the step forward in isolation.  Lynne suggested I work on leaning into the circle more before the step forward, and also that the transition needs to be quicker.  Eeep.
  • 3s to center -- we'd not looked at these in a while it seems. Turns are still pretty scrapey.  Lynne suggested (again!) that I need to lean more into the circle before the turn (in part to keep me from leaning out of the circle).  The other (longstanding) problem is that while I get up on the rocker for the turn, I don't settle down again promptly and so I skid.  Grrr.
Working with the scribed circles is definitely helping my waltz-8, and other stuff too.  I noticed when working on the BI8 yesterday that I don't have a real problem anymore pushing out to the larger circle size; I still can't make it around that full-size circle (my push is still inadequate) but at least I'm getting the position right.

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BXOs to BO Edges

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

For today's lesson we continued working on Bronze Moves, in this case the BXOs to BO edges.  We fixed some problems/questions I had with the pattern (I was starting it wrong) and then spent the bulk of our time working on sitting back on the RBO edge so it's not so scrapey.  Strangely enough the RBO is worse than the LBO.  I need to find ways to break out just that section.  Anyway we got some good work done, at least.

This issue with the BO edge is one of my "outstanding issues" that surfaces in much of my skating. When I fix this it will help me in a number of areas!  Right now it's kind of frustrating though.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  I warmed up with edges from the Preliminary test, then scribed a pair of circles and did the Preliminary test FO8, FI8 and waltz-8. This will be my usual warmup for the next few.. months?

I worked on waltz-8 roughly half an hour.  It's hard to say if I am making progress or not.  It's very frustrating... next I worked on BO8, BI8 and then finished with a few minutes of serpentines.  Bleah.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I was in Oregon today and had a lesson with Kelli at WSC on the 7:45 a.m. FS.  Fresh ice and got to see my skate buddy Kris, which was very nice :-).

We worked on power-3s the whole time.  Kelli worked with me on making the "front" lobe (lobe with the FO3) smaller/shallower -- I had known that the diagram shows it that way but I certainly wasn't doing it that way.  It was a little bit of an adjustment but it helped a lot since I was on a better edge for the turn.  Then we spent some time working on the back lobe which has definitely been an issue;  I wasn't doing a good job of pushing to the inside edge.  Kelli pointed out that there are 4 pushes on the back lobe -- push to the BI edge, then push to the other BI edge, then the crossover (or you can think of these as the 2 pushes in the crossover) and then push on the step forward.  Yow.  We spent most of our time on the LFO3 side but we did work on the RFO3 side a bit at the end.

After my lesson I worked a bit on 5-step mohawk.  The LBO edge is really weak so I spent some time just holding that.  Yow.  I need to work on them for the LBO3 also.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Scribin' It

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club; we had to reschedule to today due to my work travel.  We had terrific ice!  Now that the North Pole has been rebuilt it is really terrific.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual; Lynne came on the ice when I had finished the FO8 and FI8 and had gotten my newly-fixed up scribe out. 

I laid out (with a little help from Lynne) a pair of circles for the lesson, and we started with waltz-8.  I'll try to post a pic sometime soon of my scribe setup now.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- we worked these for most of the lesson, on the scribed circles.  Ugh. The scribe really does help a lot.  On the positive side the 3s are not bad and I'm doing a better job of holding the BO edge; and even the step-forward is improving although it's still quite weak.
  • BO8 -- I did some that were relatively okay, and then they went downhill from there :-(.  I'm trying to fix my position on the RBO so that the free leg is close, not extended (I don't do that on the LBO!) and that kind of threw me for a loop.  Bleah.
Much to practice here in the days and weeks to come.  After my lesson I had a few minutes so I worked on 3s to center and serpentines.. ugh.

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Monday, September 10, 2012


My back-3 lesson with Lynne; this week we moved to Monday on the 8:15 a.m. FS at Chandler since I will be traveling later this week.  This is still just a 20 minute lesson.

I had a good warmup, then we started.  Same drill -- warmup with back 2-foot turns, then BO3s on the wall, then back out to center ice.  The RBO3 is getting slowly better though I'm still not flowing out of the turn at all; on the positive side I'm feeling more comfortable, turning my head more and not feeling scared so I think that's positive.  It's mostly now about trying to get my knee softer and do a better job of the down-up-down.  The LBO3 on the other hand... wow.  It's still a long way from happening.  I need to practice just the LBO edge in the correct body position more, because it's just not comfy and I can't get myself to move my weight back on the blade for the turn.  Not quite Vulcan death grip on the bottom of the boot (so that's progress) but just behind the ball of the foot now :-(.

After our lesson I had another 25 minutes or so to work; I spent it on bronze moves, mostly 5-step mohawk and power-3s.

This is a better environment for this lesson than coffee club, I think -- I'm a little fresher and it was not at all crowded; so Lynne and I agreed we'd move these lessons to this time slot. 

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Friday, September 07, 2012


I skated the Chandler coffee club today for freestyle practice.  I spent most of my time on 5-step mohawk and power-3s.  I did get some good practice in but I didn't feel particularly focused.  I think I spent too much time just going through the moves without necessarily really concentrating on what I was doing (vs. what I should be doing).  Hmm.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Scribe Fail

I skated the Chandler coffee club for 45 minutes today (work mtg).  Warmed up with the Preliminary test except for waltz-8.  Pulled out my scribe.. and the marker came undone.  GRRRR.  So I did the best I could -- Lindsey was kind enough to do the scratchy-thing w/her skate to outline them better (I stink at that!).

Since I was short on time I mostly worked on the waltz-8, and mostly on the L side.  It's getting better, slowly, but still pretty inconsistent.  Finished with just a little FO8 and FI8.  My circles must have been too small because now I'm having trouble getting around with the scribed circles :-(.

Over the weekend I'm determined to get my scribe fixed up!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Scribe Success

I had my figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual. 

I had taken some time last night to work on attaching a marker (I went and bought a "Magnum Sharpie" at OfficeMax) to my scribe.  After some messing around I managed to get it attached with the materials I had at hand -- it's not really very secure so I'd still like to go to the hardware store and find something better.

I warmed up with edges, then took my scribe and laid out a pair of circles; I also marked the 1/3 points for the waltz-8 FO3, BO edge start and end.  I started practicing the waltz-8 on them and also did some FI8.  Quite a change!  Then Lynne came on the ice and we started our lesson.  We used the scribed circles for the whole lesson.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- the scribed circles help a lot!  Key differences I noticed are holding the exit from the 3 turn longer and into the circle more; starting the BO edge in the right place, and holding it for the full length (this was quite an adjustment).  My step-forward is still rough but this was better also.  Lynne was pleased.  The main thing at this point is that I'll have to practice a lot more with the scribe to get my muscle memory adjusted.
  • 3s to center -- these are about the same; 3s are just okay and I'm not able to hold the BI edge out afterward.  Need more work.
  • serpentines -- these were worse.  I think I might not have used quite as big a circle when I practiced them; in any case my edges seemed rather poor and my pushes were weak.  Transitions were not so great but improved.
  • BI8 -- Lynne wanted to look at these at the end -- I wasn't enthused!  Actually with the scribed circles I did remarkably well at pushing out at the beginning, but I only got about 2/3 of the way around the circle at first.  I did better at pushing to the middle of the blade so I got up to just over 3/4 of the circle.  More work required here too.
So... a great lesson.  Lots more to do though!  I'm going to stick with the scribe for the next several weeks I expect and see if I can get the Preliminary test stuff (esp. waltz-8) whipped into shape.  I really want to take and pass that test!

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Bronze Moves

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

Today's lesson:
  • Power-3s -- back to these.  It took me like 5 minutes to convince myself to do an RFO3.  What's up with that?  Geez.  For some reason I was just fearful.  Once we got past that we worked a bit on pattern and placement and then on getting a better back lobe -- the issue is really the step forward (what a shock, that back choctaw is a problem for me everywhere it appears).  We worked  on turning the foot to push and really getting over the skating foot.
  • 5-step mohawk -- just a little time on these, I made myself do an entire pattern (need to do more of that!) while JJ counted to 5 each time (made me laugh, actually).  I felt sooooo slooooow!  They weren't that bad except that I get up on my toe on the BO edge and, of course the step forward.  Grrr.  Okay well at least I know what I need to do.
After my lesson I stayed through the next session and at least ran the other Moves.  I'd not done the BXOs to landing position in a while... struggling to sit back on those and not scratch the toepick.  Ugh.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Scribe Frustration

I skated the Chandler coffee club today for patch practice.  The North Pole at Chandler is down for maintenance (yea!  They are finally fixing it for real after the problems they had a few months ago).  Also over the weekend, apparently, they re-did the South Pole ice... it's really nice now.  Yea!

I brought my scribe with me and tried to use it to work on waltz-8.  I warmed up with edges and then went to using the scribe... but it was an exercise in frustration.  The light was too bright, there were too many marks on the ice... it was just really difficult to see. I tried to use my marker to outline but that didn't help a lot, it was really hard for me to see even to use the marker.  Grr.

Still, I did the best I could and I did manage to make some progress, I think.  I worked mostly the L side and I think I made some progress in holding the exit from the 3 and the BO edge.