Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Back To Basics

I skated at Mountain View Ice Arena (Vancouver, WA) this morning for about an hour for a lesson with Sonya.  Had about a 25 minute warmup, then our lesson. We decided to work on rotation, since that appears to be a problem for me in a couple of different contexts

Today's lesson:
  • 3s -- Sonya had me first do a hockey glide and rotate the upper body until I had to do a two-foot turn.  Then we went to doing that and picking the free foot up after, and then to doing the turn.  We  had to do some remedial work on not throwing my hip into.  The take-away for me on this was that I had to rotate a lot more into the circle than I think I am used to, and be more patient.  The other was to really hug the circle on the check and not let my hands rotate out of the circle after the turn.
  • step forward -- this is another one of those places.  We worked on just holding a BO (LBO today), then rising up in the skating leg and bringing the free leg in and bending on to it.  I don't think I am nearly so mindful when I am doing these, which is probably part of the problem.  Hmmph.
That's all we had time for...  all in all I felt better about it.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waltz-8, BO8, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I got on the ice a little early and warmed up with edges, FO8, FI8, drew my circles and worked on waltz-8.  I drew my circles over my FI8 trace.  LFI was pretty good, RFI my circle was a little small.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- in the salt mines as usual.  I'm working on standing up straighter on the BO edge and it does seem to be helping; and trying to be more mindful of my position when I step forward.  I did a couple that were really nice; I seemed to relax (always hard for me).
  • BO8 -- still working on keeping the free foot close on the RBO.  We made some good progress on this.  Working to really stay checked, and to hold the free foot in front much, much longer (1/3 or more of the circle).  Made some good progress.  Yay!
  • Serpentines -- these are finally coming along!  I actually made it around a complete (more or less) serpentine (don't remember which side, think it was LFOI -> RFIO).  Very exciting!  Keys seem to be to really push harder and to really bring the free foot in quickly; and to really sit back on the edge and let it flow.  The FIO change of edge is really rough since I've not worked on it much; gotta spend some quality time on it.  I'm really pleased.

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My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  I was very tired and out of sorts.

For this lesson we worked on 3-turns.  I've been very concerned that I am not rotating into the circle on my turns (3s and mohawks) so we worked on that in the context of FO3s.  Not sure what we really accomplished :-(, I'm feeling very frustrated with these.  Even when I do a "nice" 3, my free leg is very uncontrolled after the turn.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Warmed up with edges, FO8, FI8, then drew my circles on top of my FO8.  The LFO was actually pretty much right on!  The RFO was actually too big!  What a problem to have :-).  It was a bit too large and was shifted up a bit so that the bottom more or less aligned with the scribed circle.

Worked on waltz-8 for some time, esp. working on trying to stand up straighter.  I think I made a little progress.  Then went on to serpentines.. first one on each side not so great but after that I made it all the way around on each foot... yea!.  I had to remind myself that it's not just a harder push, I need to bring the pushing foot in promptly.  It makes a huuuuge difference.

Finished up on BI8.  RBI is slowly improving; I'm doing a good job of keeping the free foot in front longer and it makes a big difference.  I still really need to watch the free hip when I bring the foot back though, I tend to drop it and then I curve in.  Grrr.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  With the Thanksgiving holiday and the usual hockey tournaments, I won't get to skate again until Monday.

I warmed up with edges, FO, FI8, and waltz-8, then drew my circles over my FI8 print... was a little disturbed to see my circles were about 2 feet too small.  Grrr.

I worked on waltz-8 for about 20 minutes or so.. not much progress; then about 10 minutes each on serpentines and BI8.  Serpentines were not quite as good as yesterday, but close.  BI8... yow.  Still not pushing hard enough now that I am trying to do a full-size circle.  It got better, and the push onto the LBI got better also.  A long way to go on these.


My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  I was tired and out of sorts, so it wasn't really my best lesson.

Today's lesson:
  • perimeter XOs -- all in all not that bad.  JJ reminded me that I need to bring the end pattern all the way across the end of the rink (I stopped a little early).  I'm still not happy with my clockwise FXOs but other than that, okay.
  • power-3s -- ugh.  Started with the right side... they were horrible.  Got to the left side.. also horrible.  I was practically trying to do a 3 in a straight line.  Gaaah.  I don't know what my problem was today; I couldn't make myself turn my upper body into the circle.
It occurred to me later that I'd really love to work on cross strokes because a) I've never done them and b) they might help me with this stuff.  I'll ask JJ next week.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Serpentines, 3s, BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I warmed up with edges, FO8, FI8, and waltz-8, then drew my circles and did some more waltz-8.  When Lynne came on the ice I told her I *really* didn't want to do any more waltz-8 today :-).

Today's lesson:
  • serpentines -- I was concerned that these would not be as good as they had been on Monday... but they were!  I was getting a full circle and a half on each foot!  I was really happy.  Not sure what the difference was other than a little better flow and a bit better push.  Now I really need to work on the FIO change of edge as it's pretty tough for me.
  • 3s to center -- my 3s are not so great.   Too forced and I take too long to get the down-up-down.  They did get a little better though.  Still trying to get better control of the BI edge on the exit; I need to stand up straighter and hold the check.
  • BO8 -- we are working on making me keep my free leg close so the judges won't roll their eyes :-) on the RBO.  Made some good progress, especially with keeping the free foot in front much longer.  Still having a bit of trouble on the last half of the circle, I'm tending to curve in too quickly.  We didn't really touch the LBO at all.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Only 5 skaters and nice fresh ice!

I warmed up with edges, FO8, FI8, and waltz-8, then drew some circles on top of my waltz-8 print so I could compare it... not as bad as I feared.  FO3s were about a foot early, other than that about the same as I've been doing without the scribe so I guess that's good.

After that I spent all but 8 minutes on the waltz-8.  I do a lot better when I let the BO edge be slower and try to relax.  Still not doing a great job of leaning into the FO edge after the step forward.

For the last part of the session I worked on serpentines.  RFOI was about the same, but LFOI!  I managed to make myself push considerably harder and although I had a hard time holding the edge (wound up touching my foot down briefly) I actually made it around 1.5 circles to start the RFIO! YAY!  I managed this 3 times or so.  So.. I need to keep pushing that hard and then work on leaning into the edge a bit more.

At the end of the session I wound up talking to a new skater I'd not met before.  His name is Rosswell and he's.. late 60s? 70s?  Hard to say. I'd say fairly old but quite spry.  He's a hockey boy :-).  He seems pretty cool, we had a nice albeit brief conversation.


I had my back-3 lesson with Lynne this morning on the 8:15 FS at Chandler.  Usual drill -- two foot turns front  & back, BO3s at the boards, then out to try them on the hockey circle.

The RBO3s have improved some more.  I'm getting a little flow out of the turn finally!  Not a lot, but it's there.  The LBO3s have improved very slightly -- the position is mostly right but I need to get my weight back a little more, and mostly I need to get myself to actually initiate the turn. Grrr.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Road Trip Skate

I was in Flagstaff today and took the opportunity to skate at Flagstaff FSC's club ice at the Jay Lively Ice Arena.  It's a county rink but the freestyles are all run by the club, not the rink.  Walk-ons are $15 and you have to sign a waiver (have to be a US Figure Skating member).

I had a  pretty good skate!  There were 8 of us on the ice including my friend Bruce who is on the FFSC board.  I worked mostly on moves including a huge amount of time on mohawks.  These things are just not improving.  Grrrr. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Waltz-8 & BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We started a bit late, but I was also running late, so I just made it through my edges, drew my circles, and did an FO8 when Lynne came on the ice.

Today's lesson:
  • FI8 -- nice.
  • waltz-8 -- okay, I feel like we made some real progress on these.  3s were better.  I'm holding the BO edge almost long enough, finally.  Step forward is a little better, especially when I take some time to really think about it.  I think the key for this is to really just take one element at a time and really focus on making that element what it needs to be.  Too often I'm just not very collected and it shows :-(.
  • BO8 -- finished up with these.  RBO is pretty nice.  LBO I need to watch the initial step and push that I'm not going out to far and shifting my circle.  Hmm.
After my lesson I had a couple of minutes so I worked on the RBO, trying to keep my free leg close since I know my position has not been ideal.  I was able to keep it closer but when I do I'm up on my toe a bit; not flexing my foot/keeping my heel down & weight back.  Grrr.

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

We spent some time discussing Autumn Antics, my training, etc.  JJ is really pushing me to get in better shape and do more off-ice.  I know he's right but I'm really having a hard time following through :-(.  I want to test AB Moves in January but that's contingent on fixing my mohawks and also some improvements on power-3s.  Grrr.

Then we worked on spins.  I had done a pretty nice one when he came on the ice, but of course the subsequent ones were not as nice.  From there we worked on two-foot spins a bit; JJ wanted to work on my arm position.  I was making myself dizzy!  That's a good thing since I was spinning faster.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I skated the 7 a.m. FS at WSC today for a lesson with Sonya.  We spent our whole lesson working on FI mohawks, mostly the RFI.

Sonya had me work to just hold the FI edge and bring the free leg to the instep with the foot turned out, then rotate the upper body.  I find this very hard (which is why my mohawks are so bad)!  The worst part is I think that I just have a hard time making my upper body really rotate -- I see this in a lot of places.   The other part is that I'm tending to bring the free foot in but the foot isn't turned out even 90 degrees.  Sonya had me skate a lobe on two feet, rotating the upper body and then picking up the L foot (in this case) and stepping onto it.  Eeep.

We looked a little at the LFI at the end and much the same stuff applies. 

A little progress, perhaps, but mostly I'm more aware of what I need to do and how badly I need to do it.  Yuck.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I took yesterday off from skating, but skated the Chandler coffee club today for patch practice.  Warmed up with edges, drew my circles, FO8, FI8, waltz-8.  All the usual stuff... it's about the same.  Occasionally I am able to get myself to sit back on the edge more on the BO edge and then it's a lot better, so I'm trying to work on that.

Finished up with serpentines and BO8. Serpentines were about the same, very frustrating; I'm getting good flow but I need to push harder, especially on the LFOI.  BO8 was not bad.

In other news, the video people messed up and there's no video of my Autumn Antics skate. Grrr!  It was my best yet!  Oh well.

I will be in Oregon tomorrow and will get a lesson with Sonya.  Yay!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Autumn Antics 2012

Today I performed my artistic dramatic "100 Years" program at the 2012 Autumn Antics, hosted by the Skating Club of Phoenix at Polar Ice Peoria.  Autumn Antics is not a normal non-qualifying competition -- it is billed as a "Theatrical Skating Competition."  That means that it's for artistic programs (light or dramatic), duets, groups, and interpretive.  Furthermore the judges include guest judges from the worlds of theater and dance, and the 6.0 system is used, but only the presentation mark, not the technical merit mark.

I got to the rink a little after 9, and checked in (my event was scheduled for 10:50).  The rink had freestyles from 8:30 - 9:30 and 9:30 - 10:30 on the Olympic surface, so I got my skates on and (after a short break to watch skate buddy Amber's program) skated for about 20 minutes to warm up.  By the time I was done it was about 10 so I came off the ice to warm up a bit (it was bitterly cold on that side, at least).  I left my skates on since I get paranoid about getting them tied correctly and they were fitting just fine.  I killed the time by watching some great skating and talking with my buddy and competitor Melissa.  Just before it was time to go I saw my friend Katlynn and her parents, and my stepmother came in also.

Autumn Antics runs like a show, not a competition, in that it's on 3/4 ice with a curtain separating a warmup area from the program ice.  My event was the first after an ice cut, but Melissa was skating first.  So after the ice cut they let us on the practice ice, which had *not* been zammed and was pretty crappy.  I skated around a bit to warm up again, and then Melissa went out to skate so it occurred to me that I needed to get my jacket off and rest up a bit!

Then Melissa came off and it was my turn, and they called me out.  The program ice was fresh and clean but a bit hard.  Skated out to position and off I went!  The details are a bit fuzzy; I know my waltz jump was okay, I thought the spiral was pretty good, I did a pretty good job of transitioning into the RFO3s (yea!), the spin was okay but not held long, and the salchow... I survived.  I got into the half flip and realized I was waaay ahead. Got through the half flip and hockey glide and realized I had about 2-3 seconds of extra music, so I improvised a little bit and then finished facing the judges.

Bowed to the judges, bowed to the audience, grabbed a tossie (not sure who that was from?) and skated off.

I'm really pleased with how it went.  Also really glad my dad and stepmom were able to come, since they had never seen me compete.

Afterwards I went to brunch with my dad and stepmom, and came back and got my results -- 2nd of 2 straight across the board.  I was hoping (still) for one first place ordinal.... maybe next time!


Friday, November 09, 2012

Last Practice

I skated Chandler coffee club today for my last practice before Autumn Antics.  Did a 5-min warmup and skated my program..... more or less okay but I was maybe a second late finishing.

I then spent some time working on elements that are giving me issues, then I ran the program twice more.  Holly was there (José has his lesson then) and she was yelling encouragement at me :-) so the 2nd runthru I actually finished a little early... and the third time... I must really have been moving because I fell landing the Salchow and got up and finished and I was still like 2 seconds early! Yow!

Anyway I'm feeling pretty ready.  No skating tomorrow but Sunday I should have warmup on the FS sessions they are hosting at Peoria on the other side, then skate at 10:50 a.m.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Spins & Program

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

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- worked on these for about half the lesson... only a little progress; mostly on holding the free leg back on the entry (again "duh").  Spins seemed pretty off today.
  • program -- ran the dramatic program (Autumn Antics is Sunday!) and finished on time.  The salchow and spin were pretty ukky though.  Grrr.  Other than that, not too bad.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Waltz-8, BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I hadn't skated in my patch blades in a week!  Yuck.  So it was a little iffy at first.  Warmed up with edges, then drew my circles as Lynne came on the ice.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- meh.   Still warming up, the RFO was not so great and my pushes were weak.
  • FI8 -- okay.
  • waltz-8 -- about the same.  I'm still tending to lean out of the circle before the step forward, so that makes it hard to step forward and I tend to skid.  Yuck.
  • BO8 --  still having issues with the LBO, Lynne says that when I rotate my arms I'm leaning out of the circle which is why I am going flat.  I made some progress on this, but then I was cutting the circle in too much.  Arrgh.  Also Lynne reminded me that I am taking too long with my push (not the first push, the subsequent ones) -- this is feedback I had from the Sherwood comp.  So we spent some time trying to get a shorter/quicker push.  Yikes.
After my lesson I had about 20 minutes so I worked on BI8 and then serpentines.  Mmmph.  I feel like my change of edge is better, but I'm not pushing hard enough. So I'm not losing a lot of speed in the transition but I'm still not getting all the way around the circle after the change of edge.  Grrr.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual.  I had intended to work on patch since I'd not done any figures since last week's lesson (!) but when I got to the rink I discovered I'd brought my freestyle skates with me.  Argh!  I was annoyed, especially since I'd already skated an hour of freestyle this morning!  Oh well.

I worked on moves, jumps, and spins.  I did spend about 10 minutes working on waltz-8 to see if I could make some progress, and I did -- although I suspect my ability to hold that FO edge after the step forward was largely due to the 7/16" ROH of my freestyle blades, lol!  Oh well.  I also spent a little time trying to fix my RFI mohawk.


My back-3 lesson with Lynne on the 8:15 FS at Chandler... this was postponed from yesterday.

I had a good warmup, then we started with the usual 2 foot turns forward and back on the circle followed by BO3s on the wall, and out to the circle again.  The RBO3 is coming along well.  I still am not flowing out of the turn (I'm dropping my hip and I have to put my foot down) but it's not scary and it's coming all the way around nicely.  I think I'm also leaning back into the circle a bit better.  On the other hand the LBO3 is still problematic.  I think I got my weight back a little further but I still can't make myself actually turn.  Grrr.

After my lesson I ran my Dramatic program... just okay.  I didn't finish quite on time, mostly because there were some people that got in my way :-(.  Oh well.

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Monday, November 05, 2012


I skated Chandler coffee club for freestyle practice.. between one thing and another I hadn't skated since Wednesday (!) so I really needed some time.  I warmed up with spins and jumps, then spent some time working on moves.  Then I ran my program with music -- it went really well, and I finished on time!  Yay!  Finished up with some more jumps and spins, including perhaps the best salchow I've ever done -- not particularly high (lol, of course!) but the timing was right on.  Yay!

The schedule for Autumn Antics is up -- I'm skating at 10:50 a.m.