Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Patch Perseverance

I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler today.  Since I had private ice, I worked on figures.

I ran through the Preliminary test, then spent a half hour on waltz-8.  The step-forward really has improved. It still needs a bit more work though.  Unfortunately I'm having an issue now where the BO edge is curving in too quickly, esp. on the L side (so an RBO).  Grr.

I spent the last 10 minutes or so on BI8.  My push has improved but my circles are still pretty small and not well-formed.

Friday, August 28, 2015


My power lesson with Holly on the Gilbert adult skate.  I warmed up with some Bronze moves and tried a few spins also.

Today's lesson was really taxing:

  • stroking -- pushing for speed. I think I am doing better.  The session was relatively crowded (11 skaters) and I wasn't convinced they would hear my coming since some of them are wearing earphones etc. so I was a little nervous.  I do think I'm going faster.  Holly challenged me to keep up with her and I couldn't.
  • harness -- towing Holly in the harness.  Ugh.  After a lap of this she had me skate a lap of stroking and I was really flying, it felt so much easier without her behind me, lol :-).
  • resistance -- pushing Holly while she rode her toepicks.  Somewhat different muscles than the harness.  Again a lap after.
  • forward swizzle-tap -- swizzle then jump and tap the boots together.  Forward was a bit scary.  It got better though.
  • backward swizzle-tap -- after forward these seemed relatively easy.  For the last half-lap Holly put some resistance on as I was towing her.  Yikes.
There was more on the menu but at this point I was rather dizzy and had to sit down for a bit.  This was about 17 minutes' worth so I almost made it the full 20.  I didn't get a chance to eat a good breakfast today due to a bunch of stuff at work and some other issues, so I'm sure that's part of it.  I'll try to be better prepared for next week.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Toe Loop & Loop Intro

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I warmed up with some Bronze moves and then some jumps and spins.  My first spin (from standing start) was 3 revs; all the rest were crappy.  Ugh.

Today's lesson:

  • toe loop -- we continued working on this.  I'm getting more consistent about bringing it around but I need to focus more on getting a good opposition between upper and lower body every time.
  • loop intro -- this was mostly just working on doing the 3 into it and getting the free leg in front during/after.  Hmmph.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Preliminary Test

My lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Cafe.  We had our lesson right at the start of the session.  We had a quick debrief of the competition, then on to work.

Today's lesson:

  • FO8 -- Not bad.  My 2nd LFO was really wide as I had a hard time getting over the edge quickly that time.  Other than that it was decent.
  • FI8 --pretty nice.
  • waltz-8 -- ugh.  I have not done these in a while and it really really showed.  My turns were really horrible, cutting in on the L side BO edge and having a hard time with the R side BO edge.  Yuck.
After the lesson I stayed to do the patch class.  I spent most of my time working on the waltz-8 and especially the BO edge and step forward.  Ugh.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

2015 Sherwood Invitational Figures

My skate today at the 2015 Sherwood Invitational... unlike in years past, this year the figures were in the early evening.  While I was glad they weren't at crack of dawn, the result was that I by the time I skated I had already been at the rink for, no joke, 11.5 hours.  Eep.  Still, as a result of the time slot we actually had spectators!  So that is a positive thing for figures in general.

One of the competitors wound up having to withdraw at the last minute, so there were only 3 figures skated total -- two FO8s (mine and my competition, Rachel) and my BO8 as an exhibition.

Coach Kelli couldn't be there to put me on this year so Kristen kindly stepped up to put me on the ice.  Given the nerves that I generally have for figures competition I was grateful to have her there for me.

We started with a 10 minute warmup for me (I was skating my FO8 first); then 5 minutes after my warmup started Rachel started her warmup, then I skated my FO8, then Rachel skated hers.  While Rachel was skating her figure I had warmup for my BO8, then once Rachel was done I skated my BO8.

  • warmup -- I warmed up with some edges, just FO and BO.  I was pretty nervous and it showed, though it did improve somewhat.  After that I warmed up the FO8, then a couple of quick BO8s, and then back to FO8.  Nerves were actually less on the BO8 (?!) than on FO8.  First FO8 was not too great, tracing was kinda bad and circles were very inconsistent in size. BO8 was a bit shaky.  The subsequent FO8 was much better and I felt better about it, though quite nervous.  After each layout I went and talked to Kristen who mostly gave me feedback on my body position and encouraged me/calmed me down.
  • FO8 -- finally time to skate!  I skated over to the judges, chose a starting point and marked it and pushed off... a little bit shaky but mostly under control.  I have to say compared to the last couple of years, while I still felt nervous, at least I wasn't in any doubt that I would make it around.  My first RFO was shallow on the return to center though so I knew I'd have to fix it.  In general the LFOs were not too bad and reasonably well traced; and while I did make the subsequent RFOs better they were not consistent with each other so I wasn't happy.
  • warmup -- I went back to warm up my BO8; I think I got two layouts.  The second one was actually really good and I was really happy with it.
  • BO8 -- back for my second figure.  Ugh.  The first RBO was pretty uncontrolled.  The second one was good and then the third was not so great either.  The LBOs were not bad, actually.  While the tracings weren't really close they were at least mostly parallel.  On the positive side my body position was a lot better and I had pretty good flow.  I actually had to remind myself not to push too hard because I was going a bit too fast after the first set of circles.
After I skated I congratulated my opponent and we took some pictures.  Final result for the FO8 was that I got 2nd; but I did get one first place ordinal so that is something.  I got some informal feedback from two of the judges that I looked much improved from last year.

I had a couple of friends (Lisa and her fiance' David) who came.  David (not a skater) said that the figures competition was "intense".  I guess I see what he means.  The quiet does make it kind of intense.

I should some video to post in a few weeks.


Friday, August 21, 2015


My power lesson with Holly on the Gilbert adult skate.

Today's lesson:
  • stroking -- more of the same... pushing harder, doing c-cuts across the ends instead of crossovers.  Eeep.  Really fast! Did these in each direction.
  • slaloms -- laps of these in each direction. So tiring!
  • jogging on ice -- OMG this was scary!  Running on the ice (not on toepicks).  I was kind of able to do these when Holly was holding my hands but by myself, just scary.
  • harness -- Holly put the harness on me and had me pull her while she braked.  Ugh!  Hard.
  • back swizzles-tap -- wow.  Doing back swizzles then at the end of each swizzle jumping up and tapping the feet together.  So hard!  And kinda scary.  It got better as it went on but I really struggled with this.
There were more slalom laps in between all this. Eeep.  I was totally wiped out at the end of this but I feel like I am accomplishing something.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler Ice CafĂ© for patch practice today, my last practice in patch before the competition Saturday.  Nice fresh ice and only 4 of us on the session.  I took a break in the middle during the lesson since I couldn't do MITF in my patch blades.

For both of my chunks of practice time I worked on FO8 first, then BO8.  FO8 is not bad and I'm feeling reasonably good about it.  BO8 was much better on this nice clean ice -- flow was great.  I'm having issues though in getting my tracing to be consistent; I don't know if it's that I'm pushing too hard on subsequent pushes, or what. I'm also still seeing a bit of the issue on the 3rd LBO cutting in on the 2nd half of the circle, but not all the time.

Toe Loop & Salchow

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I warmed up with Bronze moves and also did some spins.

Today's lesson:

  • toe loop -- we worked more on this; it's coming along.  JJ had me work to really stretch the L hand forward in opposition to the leg reaching back on the entry.  I'm still landing on two feet and most of the takeoff is from two feet also but the timing is mostly correct.  Still needs a lot of work but I'm feeling better about this.
  • salchow -- once again I got one good one and the rest not so great.  I think I'm still rushing a bit; I still don't have a feel for the timing.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Spins & Patch

My spins lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.  We had 6 people on this session! and 3 coaches... so kinda busy.

I warmed up working on salchow and toe loop and some Bronze moves.

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- these were mostly pretty ucky.  Couldn't get over my L side to save my life, for the most part.  When I did, I didn't stick with it, or I rushed.  Just yucky.
  • windup -- these were actually better.  I got one that was kinda okay and I wasn't rushing for the most part.

I've decided I'm not going to continue spins lessons after this month.  I feel like I'm not making any progress and I've been sinking money into this for several months now.  I'm not sure what the correct approach is but what I'm doing isn't working so it's time to try something different.  Anyway I can't really afford to add in my speed/power lessons with Holly on top of this.

After the session there was no one on the subsequent session so I paid my $14 walk-on and changed into my patch skates and skated for half an hour.  Unfortunately 10 minutes in someone else came on the session so no more private ice -- and it was pretty crappy beat-up ice anyway.  Still I was glad to get some more time on the BO8.  

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Competition Prep

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Cafe.  I warmed up with edges.

Today's lesson was all prep for Saturday's competition:

  • FO8 -- we did several layouts of these.  Not too bad.  I really do need to watch that first push though as the first couple of times I was having issues with my body position. Ugh.
  • BO8 -- the bulk of our time.  The first couple were not good... after that they were better and the last couple were really pretty good.  I was doing a much better job of keeping the skating shoulder back on the first part of the circle, esp. on the RBO.  The only remaining problem is that on the very last circle (3rd LBO) I was consistently cutting the 2nd half of the circle in.  I don't know why, but it happened like 3 times! Ugh. 
In general, while I wish I had a couple of weeks more it will have to do... oh well!

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Friday, August 14, 2015


I had my first power lesson with Holly today on the Gilbert adult skate.  I survived...

I had about 10 minutes to warm up but since I skated this morning it was okay.

Today's lesson:

  • stroking -- OMG.  I was going (for me) really fast.  Holly told me to arch my back more and really push into each stroke.  Apparently I'm still slightly toe-pushing (grr).
  • slaloms -- ugh.  Slaloms down the length of the rink.  Holly told me not to keep my arms out to the side ("no pretty arms here!") but to swing them back and forth and really dig in.  
  • small slaloms on the circle -- these really did me in.  Small slaloms around the circle (each way) really showed up my weakness on the clockwise slalom.  Ugh.  By the end of these I was pretty beat and my back was starting to bug me.
  • lunges -- we finished up with these, me pushing Holly down the rink alternating sides on the lunge... no time to think in between. DOWN! UP! DOWN! UP!  Yikes.  And of course my R side lunges stink so that was a bit challenging.
After my lesson I had about 15 minutes to skate so I worked on toe loop and spins.

It's good I didn't try for more than 20 minutes as I was pretty beat at the end of this.   I think I'm going to be kinda sore tomorrow although it wasn't my legs that were the problem, more my lower back.  All in all I think it was helpful and I'm hopeful we can make some good progress.

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My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I warmed up with Bronze moves.

Today's lesson:

  • waltz jump -- just a couple to warm up.  They felt pretty good.
  • toe loop -- a bunch of time on these.  They are slowly improving.  I'm still jumping off of two feet but the timing is getting better and I'm usually bringing it around correctly.  We worked a bunch on the wall.  JJ reminded me that I need to keep the upper body turned until I "release the spring" and not before.
  • waltz-toe -- just for grins we worked on the waltz jump -> toe loop combo.  It was actually not scary and the toe loop was about the same.
  • salchow -- just 3 minutes on these.  I actually did one that was good!  I'm not sure why.  The only thing I can recall was that I was really over my L side after the turn and very balanced.
All in all a pretty good lesson. 

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Patch Perseverance

I skated the 8:30 a.m. FS at Chandler for patch practice today.  Normally I can't skate this late but I was able to make it work today.  I chose this session because there was no one else signed up on Skaterice... but alas, besides me there were 2 walkons.  Oh well!  On the positive side I got to skate with Bruce and Katie M., which never happens anymore, so that was nice.  Also the ice was pretty crappy :-(.

I spent about 25 minutes on FO8 and the rest on BO8.  FO8 I feel is in pretty decent shape. BO8... improved a lot.  A lot.  So I'm feeling more confident.  The main issue I'm seeing right now is that my return to center on the LBO is problematic.  I'm having a hard time spotting my center, and also if I turn my head to try to look back at the 3/4 circle it's making me cut the circle in.  So that's an issue.

The ice being so worn made it really hard to see where I was going, and also I really couldn't see my traces hardly at all so I can't really tell how I was doing at tracing.  I expect the answer is "not so great."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


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

I warmed up working on Bronze moves (except circle-8) and then a bunch of time on toe loop and salchow.  It's about the same as yesterday.  I also ran through my program once without music.  Ugh.  The good news is I remembered everything.  I really need to work on the footwork parts though as they really stink.

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- mmph.  I got one good one (about 3 revs) in my warmup.  Most of these stunk.  I did get one really good one. I think the difference is that I actually need to stop worrying so much about bringing it around and all these other technique things and really concentrate on the two things that I think are key.. 1) Getting over the left side, and 2) sticking with it.  I say that because I've had some spins that were pretty good in spite of entry and setup being lacking, because the one thing they had was those two things.
  • windup -- I got a couple that were 2 revs.  Ugh.
The schedule is up for Sherwood -- looks like figures are moved to Saturday evening instead of morning.  Yay!  On the other hand there's no practice ice just for figures, so oh well.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

FO8 & BO8

My lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Cafe.  The patch class has been moved to Tuesdays so this is our time slot for now.

With the Sherwood competition only 11 days away we focused on the figures I'm skating for that competition.  I warmed up with edges.

Today's lesson:

  • FO8 -- Wow.  I had not skated patch in a long time, and my first layout was pretty ukky.  :-(.  They got better from there though.  I think we laid it out 5 times and the last couple were much better, though not, I think, as good as they were before the summer.
  • BO8 -- Yuck.  We did the first few of these on a scribed circle (realism, here).  Yuck.  The first few times my initial push was just lacking, then after that my push to the 2nd circle was poor.  For the last couple we went ahead and laid them out with no scribed circles.  Still pretty poor, but they did improve a lot by the time we were done.  
Only one lesson left before the competition :-(.  I'm looking for times I might be able to find practice ice.  I'm going to have to get creative but I might have some options.

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I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert this morning.  I was supposed to have a lesson with JJ but there was a problem and we had to cancel.

I spent most of the session working on Bronze moves, especially trying to improve my back edges on the 5-step mohawk and BXOs to BO edges.  I also spent a little time on each of the other moves.

I also spent some time on toe loop and salchow.  The good news is that I'm actually jumping at the correct time on the toe loop.  The bad news is that I'm not getting around and I'm landing on two feet. Oh well.  On the salchow, I made myself bend my knee more going into the 3 and that helped a lot.  Still jumping too late though.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015


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

I warmed up by running Bronze moves, then worked on salchow and toe loop.  I had a little progress on the toe loop in that I convinced myself to bring the edge around (this took a while) and then jump.  I was landing on two feet but the takeoff was more correct.  Salchow was about the same; the entry is correct (I'm holding the LBI longer after the 3) but the takeoff is too late/wrong.

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- most of these were pretty bad, as in about 1.5 - 2 rev.  There were a couple that were 2 - 2.5 rev.  Yuck. 
  • windup -- rushing too much.  I did get one that was about 2 revs and mostly centered, it was the very last one.
All in all I found myself at the end of my lesson extremely frustrated.  I've been skating 12 years now and the average 6-year-old spins better than me.  It's holding me back enormously and I don't know what to do.  I am going to talk to JJ and see what he thinks.  Honestly I'd give up on spinning entirely except it's not really an option, but I will never, ever win a free skate nor get to Bronze without getting past this. Clearly what I'm doing now is not working.

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Monday, August 03, 2015


I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler for freestyle practice.  Just 3 of us so a nice session.

I spent the first half hour working on moves.  In looking at my test feedback it is clear I need to work on being more comfy skating backward, esp. with a little speed.  Indeed I worked for a bit just on BO edges (something I really don't do anymore in my FS blades) and I really am getting up on my toe.  In my patch blades, I don't have this problem.  Grr.  So I spent some time on that, and a bit on power-3s and perimeter XOs.

For the second half hour I spent 10 minutes each on toe loop, salchow and spins.  Meh.  Nothing horribly great there.