Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Warmed up with edges, then into the Preliminary test.  More work on waltz-8, then BO8, serpentines, and then back to waltz-8.

The left side of the waltz-8 is actually getting a little better, I think -- right side not so much.  BO8 is a little troublesome.  I'm still not getting around 1.5 circles (it's more like 1.25) on the serpentine.  Grrr.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Skatin' Wit Da Homies

I was down in Tucson to skate with the club (TFSC) at the convention center this morning.  Always so much fun to see everyone!  I had a good skate; worked a bit on my backspin exercises, some time on salchow and toeloop.  I also ran the light program once... eeep!  So much to do!  It was fun though.

Friday, September 27, 2013


I met up with Holly today to continue working on choreography for my artistic light.

Wow, what a workout this is!  The elements are not that hard (waltz, half flip and spin) but geez, the pace!  And there's SO much choreo to do!  Lots and lots of moves.  It's fast music and I gotta keep up!

I'm still not quite at the point where I a) remember everything and b) do all the little stuff correctly, much less c) skate fast enough to be in the right place at the right time.  I only have 6 weeks so...lots to do!

I have to say though, this program is really fun!  And I think it could be a real winner for me.  We'll see.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

FO8, BO8, Waltz-8, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club, as usual.  I warmed up with edges, scribed some circles, then worked on FO8 and BO8.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- mmph.  Better, but still lacking consistency at times. 
  • BO8 -- the RBO is almost back to where it used to be.  The LBO is still lacking, usually.   It is improving though.
  • waltz-8 -- hmph.  3s are still kinda forced.  Several of my steps-forward were almost okay, but most of them were not.  
  • 3s to center -- RFO not so great.  Some of my LFO3s were actually kinda nice though the BI edge is still curving in too quickly.
 After my lesson I had a few minutes left, so I worked on serpentines a little big.  I'm not making it the 1.5 circles on one push.  I really need to push a little better, and stay back on my blade more.  Grrr.

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Backspin Prep

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

I told JJ I really wanted to learn something new.  Not that I've perfected everything I'm working on now... lol!  But still, I really want something new.  So... we agreed backspin is a good choice.  It's on the Bronze test and it relates to many of the other things I would want to learn anyway.. so off we went.

We worked on two exercises to prep me for this.  The first one is to do a two-foot spin (from pivot), but keep the spin going by pushing with first the left foot (like a swizzle) and the the right foot, alternating to keep the spin going. I think the idea is both to get me used to having my weight in different places (shifting) and also to get me used to spinning longer :-).

The  second exercise is just to work on the entrance; so it's RFI3 and then holllllld that RBO and try to make it curve as much as possible; hands/arms inside the circle.  At the end cross the free foot over (yikes!).

I need to work on these as much as possible... 

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.

I warmed up with edges, then FO8 and FI8, then waltz-8.  I spent a bunch of time just working on the step forward, trying to work on the stuff I worked on with Sonya last week (it seems so long ago!).

I finished up working on my 3s to center, first just working the 3s on the half-circle by the boards and then out on the ice.  The 3s themselves are a bit better but the BI edge out is still bad.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Duet Practice

I met Melissa at the Gilbert coffee club for duet practice.  After a quick warmup we worked a bit on our stroking and side-by-side crossovers.  Per a suggestion from Sonya we did a lap of stroking and crossovers.  Eeep!  It's clear I am still working on getting my speed back because I felt like we were going really fast and Melissa didn't think so at all.  I'm such a wimp!  We'll need to work on it more.

After that we did a runthrough without music.  Melissa fell before her salchow.  We kept going but it threw her a bit so we were a bit off.  After that we worked on some more different pieces of the program and then ran it with music twice more.

It's coming along well.  I'm having some areas where it's difficult to remember everything, and Melissa does too, but fortunately they are almost never at the same time!  We still need to work on getting more settled and I'd like to spend a lot more time working on the side-by-side stuff, as well as the spin.

At the end we were talking about other things we could potentially put in if we have extra time and Melissa (I think) suggested we have a (small) lift.  In a fit of near-insanity we actually tried one (at the boards, of course).  It's not bad but of course we weren't moving! Anyway we probably won't wind up doing one but it's kind of fun to think about.

Friday, September 20, 2013

FO8, Waltz-8, BI8, 3s

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

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- these were horrible in warmup, but much better when we started.  I really need to just practice more so that I can be more consistent on always having a good body position.  I'm working on using my core more when I push so that I can push harder and feel secure.
  • waltz-8 -- I'm doing a better job on bending my knee on the FO coming back to center; and maybe slightly better (at least on some of them) on the step forward.  I tried to remember the stuff Sonya and I worked on on Wednesday.  It's tough because I am getting too far ahead of myself. I am trying to remind myself to just take it one step at a time -- when I do that it can be much better.
  • BI8 -- ugh.  I practiced these a while back but they are still kinda rusty.  RBI was bad but improved, but the LBI... I'm really having a hard time controlling the swing after I pass my arms around.  Yuck.
  • 3s to center -- maybe a little better.  The exit is still not happening though.
All in all not too bad.

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Light Program Choreo

Holly and I got started on choreography for my light program this morning.

We talked through some ideas and came up with our "story" for the program.  We actually got pretty much all the way through it in one 45 minute long session!  Element-wise it's a pretty simple, only a half-flip, a waltz jump and a spin (we are using the RFI3 entrance I'm doing for the duet!).  Lots of "business" though.  If I can get this right it will really be a lot of fun!

We're going to work on it some more, and Holly asked for one tweak of the music.  I also have a bunch of props to look for...  I'm really excited.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Step Forward; Toe Loop

I am in Portland for work and had a lesson this morning with Sonya at WSC.

I skated the 7:15 session and warmed up a bit.  I had a heck of a time though as I had neglected to pack skating socks.  I tried to put my boots on over my regular socks but they were just too thick, so I gave up and had to skate commando (no socks).  Eeep!  A weird feeling.  I know some people like it but I really don't ever want to do that again!

Sonya decided to take me for the last 15 minutes of the session, and then we finished after the ice cut.   She was very generous with her time today.

Today's lesson:
  • step forward -- I told Sonya I really wanted to work on these as they are really holding me back.  We worked them on the wall, then on the ice, and then in the waltz-8 context.  I could do reasonably well just skating backward, but when I did it in the waltz-8 it was really bad.  Sonya had me work to make it more structured -- back edge, nicely bent knee, free leg extended, then bring the arms around, straighten the knee, bring the free leg close, and then push onto the new skating leg with the free hip up.  Down, up, down.  It seems like so many things in skating are down, up, down, and this is one of them. Eeep.  I realized in thinking about it later that if I can improve these it will probably also improve my spin entrance (stepping forward to LFO) and also my waltz jump entrance (duh, same thing).  It shows up everywhere!  Hmm.  I'm going to try to work that exercise every time I skate.
  • toe loop -- we worked a bunch on these also.  We started with Sonya drawing a circle on the ice and having me skate into it backwards and do the RBO pivot.  After that we worked more on the jump itself; on the wall we practiced the pick and draw and step through (I swear I remember working with Sonya on these like 5 years ago!).  She also reminded me to keep the upper body strong in an "L" with the arms until the draw; then bring the arms around strongly (like in the pivot).  While I didn't do any particularly good ones, I did make some good progress.  One thing Sonya noted was that I tend to want to pick too far to the right, instead of (more or less) straight back.  Then I get myself all blocked.  It's true.  Anyway I'm really pleased with this, just need to work them more.
That's all we had time for... oh well!

A special bonus today was getting to see Karly, Madison and Sierra.  I really miss my PDX homegirls!  It was good to see them :-).

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Duet Practice

Melissa and I met up on the 8:15 FS to work on our duet.  No lesson, just practice. 

We had a really good practice!  We worked through some of our problem areas and then did a runthrough and a partial runthrough and then I think another runthrough although I'm not sure.  While I think we would both agree that we want a lot more practice so that things look smoother and more polished, it's coming along quite well.

We decided to have another lesson with Lynne in a couple of weeks to tune-up and tweak so that we are sure we are on course, and then I believe we'll have another one or two before the competition.  I'm really pleased with our progress and it's really a lot of fun!

Spin Entrance, Salchow

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  We moved to today from Wednesday due to work commitments.

Today's lesson was a lot like last week's!  First we spent more time on the spin entrance from the RFI3.  Ugh.    We really worked on leaning over that edge more on the LFO and keeping the free leg back.  Some small progress but geez.  After that we worked quite a bit on the salchow, specifically the entrance.  I think we made a little progress on fixing the (lack of ) check on the LFO3 and getting the leg to stay back a bit.  Mmmph.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

TFSC Freestyle Take 2

We had freestyle ice again this morning 9-10 so I skated it.  More work on spins and salchow and a bunch of time on toe loop and the RBO pivot.  Grrr.  Trying to get this back to where it was and it's a struggle.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

TFSC Freestyle

I skated with the club (Tucson FSC) at the TCC today for freestyle.  I only got about 45 minutes in as I was running late, unfortunately.  Worked mostly on spins and salchows and a little bit on power-3s.  Ugh.  I was a bit unfocused and spent too much time talking to people.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  I finally took my skates in to be sharpened yesterday, and I felt a lot more secure on them.  Yay!

I warmed  up with edges, then spent my time on FO8 and waltz-8, followed by focusing just on working the step forward.  Ugh.  In isolation I was able to get my weight further back on the blade so that I actually turned my skating foot before the step forward; however in the context of the waltz-8 my weight is further forward and I can't do that.  Urgh.  I'm a little frustrated.  FO8 was somewhat better though.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

FO8, BO8, Waltz-8

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

I warmed up with edges, scribed some circles, then worked on FO8 until we started.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- somewhat better, but still a bit rough at times.
  • BO8 -- RBO is generally pretty good now/again -- LBO is still kinda inconsistent although some of them were quite good.
  •  waltz-8 -- urph.  About the same.  Really, I feel like I've spent years of my life working on these, and that's because I HAVE.  Ugh.

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Spin Entrance, Salchow

I had my lesson with JJ on the 8:15 freestyle at Gilbert.  Nice ice and just ourselves!!  Woohoo!

Before my lesson I showed JJ the fabric samples Marlina had given me for the free skate costume.  I'm not sure I explained very well what we are after.  She was going to send me a sketch but hasn't yet.

Today's lesson:
  • spin entrance -- we spent some time working on the spin entrance Lynne wants for the duet (see yesterday's entry).  After some work it's starting to come along.   The hard part is that I really need to step onto a good LFO and let it come around before I let it hook, otherwise I just travel and don't spin.  Urp.
  • salchow -- I swear, my problem with this isn't anything I need to be taught, it's just making me do it right.  In this case it's all about sitting on the LBI edge long enough after the 3 and checking the 3 so I have some control.  I did manage a couple of good ones.  Urgh.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Duet Lesson

Melissa and I had our duet lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club today.  Lynne was running late so we had plenty of time to warm up and practice.

We finished the choreography!  The rest of it is pretty straightforward other than a spin entrance that's a bit novel.  I do a waltz-3, step forward, RFI3 and then step into the spin.  It's a bit awkward but I think it will be fine with practice.

We video'd a runthrough and it actually looks pretty decent.  We need to practice a lot to get more comfortable and polished but we are off to a good start so far!  The Autumn Antics announcement still isn't out yet.

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Friday, September 06, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated at Chandler coffee club for an hour for patch practice.

I spent most of my time on FO8 and waltz-8, trying to continue to work on improving my body position.  I did make some progress, particularly on the FO8.  Maybe some small progress on the waltz-8; I tried to take it really slow and just think about each piece of the move as Lynne and I had discussed.   Still very frustrated though.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

FO8, BO8, Waltz-8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  I warmed up with edges, scribed some circles, then worked on FO8 and FI8. 

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- mmph.  My RFO was great, but the LFO.. yuck.  Same issues I had in the competition.  After a bunch of work I managed to recover the progress we made last week.  I need to reinforce this next practice.  Basically I'm trying to keep my hip open and my back to the circle as I push onto the LFO, and sit back on the blade more.
  • BO8 -- RBO not bad.  LBO inconsistent.  Grr.
  • waltz-8 -- hmmph.  Still not happy with these.  Working on standing up straighter on the BO edge and keeping the free foot close after I pass it back; and leaning into the circle more when I step forward.  I made a little progress but we'll see if I can keep it!

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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Duet Lesson

Melissa and I had our duet lesson for the week on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  I had about a 15 minute warmup, then M and I practiced for about 15 minutes.  Then it was time to start our lesson.

We ran through the program from the beginning to start.  I biffed my salchow (I think Melissa had an issue also), but more vexing to me was that I fell again the first time I tried to get up.  Fortunately (miraculously?) I managed to get up and continue and we were only slightly behind.

After that we continued our choreography.  Melissa has been keeping track of it for us, but basically we added on mirrored waltz jumps followed by some more "acting" stuff.  We are probably over the 2 minute mark in our choreography, which is pretty cool.  I know we are ending with a spin, but that's about all I know.

We are continuing to improve and having a blast, so what else could you ask for?

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Duet Practice

Melissa and I met up for duet practice today on the 9:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert -- no ice at Chandler today and not much at Gilbert either.  It was rather more crowded than I'd hoped... about 11 skaters and maybe 6 coaches.

I took about 15 minutes to warm up and then we started working.  We worked on the stroking and crossovers part (slowed it down) and I was able to get over it and actually do them so that was good.  Then we spent some time on fixing the second part of the program in our heads better since we both seem to have a little trouble remembering the sequence.  We practiced this a number of times and got it much better.  Then we ran it with music once and it was pretty good, actually -- we kept up with the music fairly well.  We still struggled to remember part of the choreography though in spite of the earlier practice!

We had a suggestion from our local dance expert (lol) to consider switching sides on the side-by-side stroking to make us more comfortable.  It does indeed help but does require a little bit more work.  We'll discuss it with Lynne tomorrow I'm sure.

All in all a good practice -- it went by really fast but it was a ton o' fun.  Yay!