Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Workin' The Basics

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Nice ice today and only like 4 skaters.

Today's lesson was all about this pattern JJ has been working on me.  To recap, it's a progressive/crossover (both blades on the ice the whole time), uncross and into an inside spread eagle.

The spread eagle is actually getting easier, which amazes me.  It's all about transferring the weight on the (soon to be) back foot to the ball of the foot and just letting it come around.  I'm still having a lot of trouble doing this.  I can do the crossover if I reallllly bend my knees (this is a good lesson for me to learn!) but then uncrossing it is not happening yet.  We made some progress though.

I get a little frustrated with this as it feels like "why do I have to work on this stuff?" but then I remind myself that if it were easy for me to do, it would not be worth working on, but since it's clearly difficult, then it's the kind of thing I need to work on and be able to *readily* do.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014


My spins lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS...

As I was getting on the session I decided to re-tie my left boot... and promptly broke the lace.  Argh!  Fortunately I did have laces in my skate bag... but they were spares for my patch boots and therefore baby blue in color :-).  Oh well!  So I promptly went and put a new lace on... which took all of my warmup time.  So I had to do my lesson with no warmup AND a newly-laced boot.  Yuck.

We continued where we left off last time... but it took a while to get back there!  I finally was able to start holding the entrance edge longer; so then the next thing was to try to keep the free side back longer, then bring the free leg around and in/up as well as open up the skating side.  Ugh.  I did manage to do one pretty nice 2-rev spin before the end of the lesson, and a couple that were almost as good.  Consider how little practice I've had in the last week I guess I shouldn't complain.  I really need to work on this.  Anyway it's progress.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Edges & Crossover Exercise

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

Today's lesson:

  • edge drill -- we continued working on (just) the FO drill (skate fwd on flat, FO edge around in a circle).  I still stink at getting the circle smaller but at least I'm improving my  body position a bit.  So some progress.
  • crossover drill -- I went out and did the crossover drill just fine... then couldn't get myself to do it again for several minutes.  Geez!  JJ wanted me to do cross-n'-hold, then uncross into an inside spread eagle.  Ugh.  I was able to do the cross-n'-hold AND the spread eagle, but not the uncross the way he wants it.  Ugh.  Needs work.  I did manage to make myself bend my knees more so that's progress too.
This all seems very elementary to me and yet since I struggle with this stuff I think it really is the right thing to be working on.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

All Spins, All The Time

I had my first spin lesson with Lynne this morning on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I had talked with JJ about my spins and asked him to find me a spin coach as I really think I just need to work with someone else on this, and he suggested Lynne.

We started by working on entering the spin from a standing start.  We worked on holding the entrance edge and keeping the free leg and shoulder back (sound familiar?).  We also spent some time at the boards working to feel how to bring the free leg around and in.  Then back out to work on it some more.

I feel like I did make a little progress.  Entering from the standing start seems to help me slow things down a bit and not rush or force them so much.  I do feel like I'm bending my skating knee more.  Holding the entrance edge longer is still a struggle -- but I didn't particularly expect instant results.

All in all I think it was a good start.  We'll stick with this time slot for now and see how things go.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Skating Skills

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

Today's lesson was all about skating skills...

  • edge drills -- JJ had me work on a very basic outside edge drill -- glide forward on a flat, then around a circle.  Each foot, forward and back.  While I certainly can do it, my circles are pretty large.  And backward my position is a bit stinky.  I need to def. work these as it directly attacks one of my weak points (deep edges).
  • cross strokes -- evidently JJ has been talking with Sonya!  These were basically the same as I worked on with Sonya a couple of weeks ago.  Ugh.  Although they have improved a little bit since then.  JJ emphasized that when the feet cross you need to feel you are shifting your weight *forward* which was a bit different for me.  Good stuff.
That's all we had time for, amazingly enough.  I was a bit concerned about this time slot but I managed to get to work on time so I guess it will work.  I would rather have kept the later time slot, but hey, you can't always get what you want.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014


My lesson with JJ on the 2:30 p.m. FS at Gilbert.  Since I was off, and just home from Oregon, we chose this afternoon session.  However with Fiesta Skate starting tomorrow, perhaps not the best choice as it was a little crowded and lots of people running programs.  I was a bit distracted and out of sorts.

After all my whining about my crappy skating, we decided to work on moves. Today's lesson:
  • power-3s -- ugh.    JJ told me something I swear he never had before -- to bring my free foot further across after the BXO so that I could step on a better FO edge.  It really helped.
  • BXOs to landing position -- we worked on getting me to actually (Duh!) turn my head and upper body while holding the landing position.  For some reason while I can manage to turn the body, getting that head to turn is really difficult for me.
  • 5-step mohawk -- the only good thing was that I kept going!  Well, actually the last part was not so bad, but the mohawks are pretty bad.  I don't hold the FI edge, for one thing.  Ugh.
Not sure about my skating schedule in the future as I'm starting a new job Monday.  Ugh.  We'll have to see.  Also the Chandler rink is closed for the summer for renovation, so my only options seem to be Gilbert (15 miles in the opposite direction from work) or perhaps Oceanside.  Hmmm.

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Friday, April 04, 2014


I skated the 7 a.m. FS at Sherwood today.  I got to skate with a number of friends and homies!  That part was awesome :-)

I worked through some of my drills from yesterday -- crossrolls (somewhat better), crossover exercises, slaloms (bleah). Worked on spins a bit but only managed to hold the leg back on the last couple.  Grrr.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Crossovers, Crossrolls, Slaloms And Spins

My lesson with Sonya on the 7 a.m. FS at MountainView.

Today's lesson was mostly on skating skills:
  • crossovers -- Sonya worked through some drills with me -- swizzle pump x2, push and hold the edge; two foot glide and cross the feet (yuck!); and then crossovers.  The CW ones were not too pleasant..
  • crossrolls -- more ugh. Of course she wanted nice crossrolls where you put the free foot down and cross it on the ice.  Yikes.  The goal here in part was to get a nice knee bend and lean and it's not really happening.
  • slaloms -- this was power-pull prep (forward only).  Again I am not bending my knee and ankle enough for this to really work, and my feet are too far apart.  Mmmph.
  • spins -- I think we actually made some progress on these but we bumped into what I'd call my "final" nemesis -- I get about two revs in position and then I bail when I could have held it longer. Aaaah.  We tried for quite some time and I think the best I did was 2.5 revs.  I think the thing is here is not a generalized fear of falling but a more specific fear of falling backward.  Grr.  I really need to find a way around/through/over that or I'm never going to get this.
All in all it was a pretty good lesson, and she left me with things to practice.  Unfortunately with my change of jobs this is probably my last lesson with Sonya for the foreseeable future as my visits to Portland will be rarer and probably only on weekends when Sonya's not teaching.  *sigh*

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014


I skated the Sherwood public for about 45 minutes this afternoon for some practice.  I worked mostly on crossovers, edges and spins.  I could not really get myself to hold that free leg back going into the spin, so they were not as good as in lesson w/Sonya.  Grrr.  On the positive side I did get to see Kayla, Aziza, Kristen and Judy.  Yay!

Edges And Spins

My lesson with Sonya on the morning FS at WSC.

I got to the rink around 7:15 and Sonya finished a lesson with Sierra about 7:45 so she gave me 15 minutes then, and 15 minutes after the 8 a.m. ice cut.  I was on the ice a total of an hour and 15 min.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- more of the same.  I actually made some progress on getting my free leg back on the entrance and also bringing the free leg around... but I cannot quite make myself bring it allll the way in for some reason.  Grrr.  Still I felt we made some good progress.
  • backspin -- we worked on these some more.  It seems like I can either get the arms to open, or get the free leg brought in and snap the hips... but not really both. Grrr.
  • edges -- we spent some time just working on edge drills.  The forward edges were decent but I had a really hard time sitting back on the backward edges, esp. BO -- I tend to be up on my toe (as usual).  It was good to work on these in my FS blades as I usually do this stuff in my patch blades and they are flatter in every sense.
After my lesson I worked some more on spins and enjoyed watching Chloe and Logan working on their new program.  They are a lot of fun to watch.

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