Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, March 31, 2014


I had a lesson with Sonya on the afternoon public at WSC. I got there at 3:30 and had a rather indifferent warmup... I was not very motivated and being on public didn't help.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- Sonya took me back to the beginning and had me skate a tight LFO edge while holding the free leg back and holding good tension in the arms.  Ugh.  I did manage to make some good progress and was bending my knee a lot more than I have in the past.
  • backspin -- we worked on these a couple of different ways, finishing with the LFI-RFI edge entry.  Ugh.  I am starting to have a feel for snapping the hip in a bit but I really am not able to make the free leg  cross over/around , or if I do that I don't remember to let the L arm come around.  Yuck.
  • sitspin -- I think I looked at Sonya like she was crazy when she suggested we look at this (I do that a lot, I suspect).  Anyway we worked on it briefly.  At least she didn't make me try camel!

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I'm in Oregon and had a figures lesson with Kelli on the 6:15 FS at WSC.  It wasn't too crowded and people were pretty tolerant of the old guy working on figures.  Yay!

For today's lesson we worked exclusively (per my request) on the waltz-8.  We focused on holding the exit from the 3 (keeping straight up after the turn) and fixing the body position on the BO edge into the step forward.  Kelli had me really working on keeping the free foot tucked in on the BO edge so that I wouldn't be leaning forward.  We made some good progress on this.  The 3s were a bit better too.  Good progress.

For homegirl sightings, I got to see Madison and also Kris.  Yay!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waltz-8, BO8, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Cafe.  The group lesson was on serpentines, and it brought up a couple of questions that I asked Lynne about later (see below).

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- we mostly worked on improving the exit from the 3 so that I don't get forward.  Part of this is because while I have the "down" - "up" I'm lacking the final "down"... which is a persistent problem.  We also looked at the step/push on to the BO edge; trying to get/keep my weight further back on the blade so I can actually step forward from it.
  • BO8 -- just a little time on these.  On the positive side I had good push and flow.  On the negative side... not a lot of control.  My circles were pretty wild and I didn't return to center well.
  • serpentines -- we came back to these.  I asked Lynne about two things I'd seen in the demonstration that were different from what I've been doing.  1) on the first half lobe, she brought her free leg forward smoothly after the push (so it was in front around mid-lobe).  I had been bringing it forward just before the change of edge.  2) the arm position at the beginning of the FI serpentine -- she had her skating arm forward, then switched arms at the FIO change of edge.  I'd done it with the free arm forward and no change of position at the change of edge.  So we experimented with both of these.  The first one did seem to help make the FIO change smoother.  The second was kind of hard to get used to and I'm not sure if I want to do it that way or not.  More work required.
I am going to Oregon next week on vacation and I'm looking forward to working with Coaches Sonya and Kelli :-) and seeing some skating friends!  When I get back the Chandler rink will be closed for renovation.

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Edges; Planning

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert. I had not skated since the previous week (Tuesday) and never really felt warmed up.  Oh well :-(

We didn't have the most productive lesson today.  We spent a fair amount of time discussing/planning our summertime lessons and what I/we need to do to improve my skating.

We did spend some time working on some edge drills.  Nothing fancy, just trying to work on getting that edge to curve more quickly/sharply.  Ugh.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Toe Loop

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert. It was a bit more crowded than usual (8 people, 3 coaches), due to spring break I think. For today's lesson we worked on the toe loop. We mostly worked on the entry and especially the pick in and jump up. JJ says I'm doing it wrong (which is, I realized later, exaaaactly the same thing Sonya told me several months ago!). Apparently I try to jump by just straightening my knee and going up on the toe. What I am supposed to be doing is bending the ankle to dig the toe in while straightening the knee ("releve'" as JJ kept telling me. I kept reminding him I didn't take dance). So we worked on that a bit. I probably need to practice that toe lift kind of thing off ice, though it's harder in boots.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

2014 PCAS Free Skate Video

Here it is.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Preliminary Test, BI8, 3s

I had my figures lesson with Lynne on the Gilbert coffee club today.  The ice had not been Zammed and was pretty crappy :-(.

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- ugh.  FO8 was a little wonky at first but better.  FI8 was okay. Waltz-8 was pretty ukky; the second time through was better.  I really need to just take it one step at a time.
  • BI8 -- ugh...we worked a bunch on getting more power in the initial push, with a little success.  It's all about bending the knees and getting more blade to push from!
  • 3s to center -- about the same.  3s are not bad, but the check is lacking.  Lynne had me practice holding a hockey stick (clearly, she's been talking to JJ!) to help me be more aware of my upper body/arm position.  It was weird!  

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ice Cafe

I skated the Chandler Ice Cafe today.

The lesson today was not patch, as Teri and Lynne were not available.  The subs (Laurie M and Sarah) wanted to work on moves. Since I was wearing my patch skates I told them I was not comfy doing MITF in patch blades so Laurie drew out a patch for me and I worked for about 45 minutes.  I went through the test stuff, BO8, BI8 (ugh), 3s and serpentines.  It was not my best skate.  Oh well!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

2014 PCAS Showcase Dramatic

I skated my "100 Years" program this afternoon at PCAS.

My skate was schedule for 1:55, so I started getting ready about 1.  Good thing I didn't wait 'til the last minute as we were running ahead and the ice monitor found me to let me know to be ready.

I was skating against one other man, from the St. Moritz club, skating his first competition.  We got on for warmup... and I was nervous.  Really, really nervous.  And the ice felt very slick and fast.  I really can't explain it, as a) I was find this morning and b) I skated this same program at Mid Winter just 3 weeks ago!  I don't get it.  I warmed up my jumps and spins and they were okay.. practiced the LFI mohawk that always freaks me out in this program and it was just horrible.  Like, scary horrible. Ugh.

I was skating second (yay!) so I came off after the warmup and tried to get my nerves in order, without much success.  Time to skate my program and out I went...  Things started off okay; I made it through that scary mohawk but then had some kind of senior moment or something and didn't do the BXO or brushback so I really couldn't do the waltz jump, and instead... I just stopped.  Tried to make it look intentional and then went on with the program.  The rest of it was mostly okay though the spin was meh and the salchow just so-so.  Finished and skated off.

I got straight 2nds across the board.  I'm not surprised.  I only had one (crummy) jump and one spin, and I'm sure I looked nervous and slow.  Yuck.  This was my last time skating this program (It's my second PCAS with this program) and not the way I wanted to finish it.  Oh well.


2014 PCAS Showcase Light Entertainment

This morning I skated my "She Blinded Me With Science" program at PCAS.

I had practice ice at 7:30 a.m.  Didn't get as much sleep as I would have liked but I felt pretty well prepared.  Practice was okay (fairly crowded, but doable).  I warmed up the elements in the light program and practiced spinning with the glasses on.  I also warmed up some elements of the dramatic program but didn't try the salchow since I had the long lab coat on.  In general I felt pretty good.

After practice ice I rested in the (warm) cafe and ate an apple, then got my props set up and put on my wig and practiced getting the glasses on over the wig.  

I was skating second (yay!).  Went out for the warmup and ran though my elements and felt really good.  Ice was newly zammed and kinda slick and fast.  Came off the warmup and waited... then it was my turn.  Pushed my props to center ice and set up, took my opening pose and off I went!

Beginning went well, although I forgot to do the BXOs into the "wave" motion (I just pushed forward).  Spin was okay though short, maybe 1.5 revs (darn glasses, ugh).  The spiral felt pretty good (who knows, though?) and after that was fine and I was feeling pretty good... and then... yep!

I went into the "swimming" part and as I'd worked on, tried to get really low (I'd looked at the video from midwinter and felt like I didn't get low enough for it to look good).  Well, I got really low, but then somehow my weight went too far back and I fell back on the ice.  Grr!  No harm done but it was hard to get up promptly because the ice was so slick!  I tried to stay in character.  Got up and managed to finish on time although I had to omit the first hand-in-the-air pose and just went the very final pose.

And, I was done!  I think I forgot to bow though I'm not sure.  Skated off with my props and grabbed some tossies and got off the ice.

In the end I managed to eek out a 1st place finish (just barely) with two 1st ordinals and 3 2nd ordinals.  Skate buddy Melissa was 2nd with two 1st ordinals, two 2nd ordinals and a 3rd ordinal.  So it was close.  I was a bit surprised that I still got first even with the fall, but that's showcase I guess.


Friday, March 07, 2014

2014 PCAS Free Skate

Today I skated my new "Ashton" free skate program at the 2014 Pacific Coast Adult Sectional Championships, hosted by  the All Year Skating club at Center Ice Arena in Ontario, California.

Skate buddy Melissa and I arrived in Ontario last night.  This morning we had official practice ice at 9 a.m. As it turned out there were only 3 of us on the session!!  Wow.  So it was great ice and I got to run my program with music twice!  I had a great practice and got to work on some of my problem areas in some depth, which was good since I've only had this program complete for about 3 weeks.

After our practice ice we had most of the day free.  The competition started at 3, and then we both had unofficial practice ice at 4:50 p.m. (we were running 7 minutes late by that point).  This practice ice was quite the zoo with 25-ish skaters on the ice.  I did get some good practice in though, and I felt well-prepared for the free skate.

Melissa's skate was the event right before mine, so somewhat before then I got into my skates, then checked in and watched her group.  She did great!  Then it was time for my warmup.  I was 2nd in starting order (for some reason I am second for each of my skates at PCAS, which I guess is good since I was first for both of them at Mid Winter).  Had a good warmup, ran each of my areas of concern at least once.  Got off and tried to keep warm while the first skater (Mark) skated.

Then he was done and I stepped on the ice and waited for them to announce me... and waited... and waited...  for some reason it was quite some time (I'd guess 2 - 3 minutes, which is an eternity when you are waiting like that!) before they were ready and called my name.  Skated out to my starting position, the music started, and off  I went...

The footwork around the center went fine, and I believe I managed to place the two 3-turns on the music correctly.  Amazingly, then, I came out of the RFI spiral - mohawk and managed to do the waltz-mazurka combo on time!  I'm amazed because, while I managed to have it on time at practice ice this morning also, at that time it was because  I did the 2nd 3-turn early, which I didn't do this time.  So clearly I was really moving!

The moonwalk went fine, into the lunge but I had to exit the lunge before I really held the  2nd arm position, because my trailing leg started coming around on me.. into the mohawk/step-over which were kinda crappy as they have been.  Into the spin which was maybe 2 revs tops (oh well, it's a weird entrance  and I can't do it well yet), then onward into the FXOs (for some reason I'm only doing one instead of the two JJ wanted me to do) and the 3-turn/lunge, two BXOs into the salchow (usual bleha salchow) and then into the final hockey glide/pivot/final pose.  I kinda muffed the pivot.  It's a failure of nerve.  I practiced it in the warmup and it was fine, I just have trouble making myself move my weight forward and engage the toepick when I'm moving.  Oh well.

Took my bows, grabbed my tossies (yay!) and skated off.  The skater after me was doing his first competition, apparently.  He did pretty well, although he did fall once.

When the results came in, straight 3rd across the board. Oh well!  I know I really need to improve my elements and there's still more stuff to add to this program (like a toe loop).  I think it's a good foundation though.   I'm pleased with my skate.

No skating tomorrow!  Sunday I do both my showcase programs, and then the long drive home.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Preliminary Test, B8s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler "Ice Cafe."

So this was our first go (well mine, it debuted yesterday but I wasn't there) at the Ice Cafe format.  We started at 11:50 with a 20 minute patch lesson, then the rest was freestyle as usual.

Lynne and Teri had laid out 20 patches on the ice, though we only had 8 people.  We drew lots for patch assignments.  They gave us the option of learning to use a scribe, or learning to lay out circles without a scribe.  Since I know how to use my scribe, I did the latter, along with half the group.

There was some actual value in this, as I had never taken the time to try stepping out my circles.  My circles are 8 steps wide.  After that I had some time so I worked on FO8, FI8 and waltz-8, and then we were out of time.

After that I grabbed my scribe and laid out some circles and then Lynne and I had our lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- FO8 was okay although the first LFO was a bit wide :-(.  FI8 was pretty good.  Waltz-8 we spent some time on.  After I made myself slow down and concentrate (i.e. the 2nd time through) they were better.  The RFO edge back to center is probably the weakest part now.
  • BO8 -- these were really good!  Good flow and speed and felt really solid.  There are some small things to work on of course, but I was pretty pleased.
  • BI8 -- ugh.  This is still a work in progress.  I'm really working on the push to keep my feet closer together and to do that with a good push.  Urgh.  These need a lot of work.
All in all it was pretty productive.

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Last Prep

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

This was our last chance to polish the program before PCAS.  I wore my costume (picked it up last night) and it looks and feels fine. We ran the program 3 times.  The first time, I fell on the left mohawk/step over before the spin -- just kinda dumb, I was stepping one way but my body was turning the other way.  Got up and went on from the spin entry and managed to finish on time, so I was pretty happy about that.

The second time was not as good, though I didn't fall :-).  And the third time was better!  We spent some time reviewing the bows and also going out on the ice.  We decided it would be helpful to do a pivot when I'm taking my position -- besides looking cool it's a last chance to practice it :-).

So that's it!  Practice ice Friday morning at 9 CA time.

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Monday, March 03, 2014


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

Another lesson with polishing the free skate.  We ran it twice with music, and in between we worked on cleaning things up.  The second runthrough was much better!

I'm still having some issues in the same areas -- the footwork into the spin, the pivot just before the end, and for some reason I weird myself out on the RFI3 near the beginning.  It's coming along though.  This is really just a "rough-cut" of this program, there's a lot more we will probably add later (like a backspin, once I can do one!).

This evening I had my final fitting for my costume (can we get this any more down to the wire?!).  It's basically done but there were a couple of fixes that have to be made with the snaps for the cuffs, and also for the stirrups.  Also some small issues with the stoning.  It looks really terrific, though, I think.  It should be done tomorrow, and I can wear it for my Wed. a.m. lesson.

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