Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, February 29, 2016

Final Choreo

I had my final choreography session for the dramatic program this morning on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.  I wore my costume.

For today we mostly worked on minor tweaks and fixes.  First I asked Tammy about the arms at the very beginning because I didn't feel I was being very graceful.  We worked on it a bit; I need to bend my R arm from the elbow as I'm raising it so it looks less stiff.  After that the L arm can flow out a bit instead of being raised straight.  I thought this looked better.

After that we went ahead and ran the program.  It actually went pretty well.  Tammy says I am definitely skating faster (yay!).  There are some issues with ice coverage and element placement; I'm covering the ice well but in a couple places (the very end, and the attitude/mohawk section) where I'm too far one way or the other.  Tammy had me work to not go so far into the end after the first spin so that the following section can shift down a bit -- this puts the waltz jump further into the other end so it's more balanced.  Then at the end, I'm going to turn back around after the toe loop so that the slaloms are going back toward center.  This is much more aesthetically pleasing :-).

Oh, and Tammy specific told me I need to breathe! After the waltz jump.  As usual I'm tending to hold my breath.

So after some exercise on all those we ran it again with music and it was pretty good!  A good note to leave off on.  I'm feeling pretty good about it.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Adult Skating Sendoff!

This evening we had our first-ever Adult Skating Sending for our Phoenix skaters at Az Ice Arcadia.  We had 45 minutes of ice time and a total of 11 skaters (some of us did 2 programs).

I picked up my new Dramatic costume from 12th Street Dancewear at 4 pm, and then had a little time to kill before the exhibition.  I got to the rink at about 5 p.m. and changed into my dramatic program.  The ice cut was done early so we got on the ice at 5:25 and had a five minute warmup. Eeek!  I forgot how fast the ice there is.  I warmed up my waltz jump, toe loop and spins and then spent some time on bunnyhops so I wouldn't freak out.  I had a minute left when I realized I needed to warm up my salchow for the free skate!  I just had time to do one, but it was fine.

I skated 2nd after my clubmate Jose.  I went out to take my place and the music started just a little bit before I was ready!  Oh well, it was okay. 

In general the dramatic went pretty well, except that neither spin was good.  The first one had some weirdness to the entry that kind of threw me off.  I was so focused on doing the bunnyhop well that I forgot to do the arms on the lunge :-(.   The toe loop was a bit better than it's been, but still two-footed on the landing.   The twirly thing was a bit off but passable, and then the final spin was not too good.  Because of all that I finished a bit early!  So I did a little pushback thing and then took my final pose after the last spin.  It was okay.

Then I had about 20 minutes to change my costume and wait to skate.  I went out for the free skate and my music started and off I went!

Free skate went fine.  The salchow was actually okay.  The spin was not too great but by now I have pretty low expectations for spins so I wasn't surprised nor shocked.  Despite the slick ice the lunge-3 was okay, I caught it just right.  I finished just right.

All in all this was a great experience.  I was pretty nervous for the dramatic program, so I'm glad I had this experience now.  I wasn't particularly nervous for the free skate which was nice.

I'm very grateful to Erika for all her work in setting this up!  I think we'll do this annually. :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler Ice Café for patch practice.  Coach Lynne is out since her baby girl arrived!

I ran through the Preliminary test, as usual, then spent most of my time working on waltz-8.  I didn't intend to, I just got kind of obsessed :-).  The L side was actually really nice!  The R side... I am consistently cutting into the circle too much on the LBO.  I think the difference is that I bend my knee more on the L side (RBO) than on the R side.  I worked on fixing that and I had a little success, but ran out of time.  Oh well!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Program Work, Off Day

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  A pretty quiet session, just me and Ms. Kodi and Emma, and later Toni and one of her students.

I warmed up with stroking and then some jumps but just felt really clunky and off.  Not sure why, just not moving well.

For my lesson we spent some time working through my off-day issue (I fell on a waltz jump!  I can't remember the last time that happened!) and worked a bit on toe loop.  I did run my dramatic program (JJ had not seen it) and it went more or less okay; just a couple of seconds late at the end.

I'm not sure what my issue was today and I hope it's better tomorrow...

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I skated the evening FS at Chandler as usual.  Today the session started 5 minutes later and was on the west rink due to some (temporary) changes.  I am not fond of that ice as it seems harder to me and it is really rough all over with hockey ruts.  Yuck.

I felt a little tired and off when I started, which seems to be usual for me when skating after work.  Still, I had a pretty good skate and worked on program elements the whole time.  At the end I ran both of my programs and they came out pretty well, actually, so it was a good day.

Monday, February 22, 2016


My choreography session with Tammy on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.  As usual a nice session, just myself and D and Tammy and for the first half or so Jamie and one of her skaters.

I warmed up with some Bronze moves and then warmed up jumps and spins, then ran my dramatic program to see how it went. Ugh!  The first time I once again wanted to do a power-3 instead of the crossroll at the beginning.  So I stopped and made myself do it over again correctly.  After that the runthrough was not too bad, though I was about 5s late in finishing :-(.

We started off by working through the section with the attitude into the mohawks.  Tammy wanted it to flow better (and, I had way too much think time between the mohawks).  We were able to fix this pretty convincingly.

Next we worked on the slaloms into the twizzly-thing, as it was a little rough (too much like a pivot) in my runthrough.  That was better.  I probably should include this in my warmup though to make sure that I get it in my head how it's supposed to go.

After that we worked to add some more movements in 3 places:

  • lunge -- arms down, then raised in a crossing motion overhead while looking up.
  • slaloms -- look to each side (L, then R) on the slaloms
  • BXOs before the waltz jump -- L arm up at shoulder height going L, then bring the R arm up with it going R around the corner.

We worked through all of these and I think they are doable and not too hard to remember.  I do need to work on them though.


Friday, February 19, 2016


My power lesson with Holly on the Gilbert adult skate, as usual.

Today's lesson:

  • stroking - of course. 2 laps!
  • slaloms - 1 lap.
  • lunges - 1 lap.  Ugh.
  • forward swizzles - 1 lap.
  • back swizzles -- 1 lap. these were actually pretty easy.
  • chassés -- around the circle, each direction, forward and back.  Back was pretty nice. Forward, I get a little nervous going that fast. Ugh.
  • swing rolls -- down the line.  First Holly had me do them somewhat normally, then again trying to keep my weight back on the blade more... eeek.
  • cross rolls -- like 2 laps of these?  I don't get good deep edges on these but they did improve.  It took me back to my dance class w/Naomi.
  • and finish with a lap, of course!
I'm grateful that there weren't any toepick things, and she hasn't made me do jumping up in place stuff lately either... yay!  Of course now I've jinxed it :-).

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I had a choreo session with Tammy this morning on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler; we rescheduled since I was in CA on Monday and there was a hockey tournament anyway.   Nice ice and just me, Denali and Tammy.

We worked the last part of the program to improve the flow and do a bit better job on the twizzly-two-foot-spin thing.  This improved a lot!  Then we ran through the chunk with the two mohawk/crosses etc. and that is looking decent, though it could be smoother.  Lastly we worked on the waltz jump/FXO/bunnyhop/lunge/toe loop to tie it all to together.  We finished up by running it once with music and it was pretty good.

We only have two sessions left (I will be skating this at PCAS in TWO WEEKS!!).  Tammy says she wants to add some arm stuff to it on Monday.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Preliminary Test & BI8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Café.  We started a little early so I just had time to scribe circles and do my edges.  Ice was really nice and just 4 skaters and 2 coaches.

Today's lesson:

  • FO8 -- I had one wobble on the last LFO, but other than that these were really, really nice!  
  • FI8 -- nice.
  • waltz-8 -- Meh.  I felt like these were not as good as last week.  Cutting into the circle too much on the BO edge and stepping out to much on the FO.  The turns were nice though.  We worked these again after the first set and it was a bit better.  Ugh.
  • BI8 -- We mostly worked on getting a better push, with feet closer together (no widestepping!) but still stepping to a BI edge.  Some improvement, actually; while i'm not making it all the way around right now I was following a full-size circle pretty well, and I was only about 1/8 of a circle short.  So I need to work these some more.
After my lesson I just had a few moments so I worked on serpentines.  Meh.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016


I skated the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler as usual.  I was kind of tired and unmotivated to start, but it improved.  I worked on jumps and spins.  Salchows were pretty good (thought not always so).  Toe loops... ugh.  Still tending both to two-foot the landing and cheat them a bit. Grrr.  Need to get this fixed!

Spins were about the same as ever, unfortunately.  Just before the end of the session I ran my dramatic program...  yikes.  I forgot a couple of things and got waaaay behind :-(.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

2016 MidWinter Warmup

I skated my "Ashton" APB Free Skate today at the 2016 MidWinter Warmup.

I was at the rink most of the day, announcing for 2.5 hours and generally hanging out and cheering people on.  Around 3:30 I went back to the hotel to rest and grab my stuff; I wound up taking an (unplanned) 45 minute nap.  I guess I was tired!

The competition was running about 15 minutes behind schedule, so around 7 or so I went and put my costume on.  I was sharing a warmup with the Bronze Men's FS (5 of them) and then I had my exhibition after their event.

Finally it was time for warmup!  I went out and stroked around, then warmed up my waltz jump and salchow (it was good!).  Then I practice some program chunks -- mohawk/cross into the spin, the lunge3 into the salchow (wanted to practice the lunge because the ice was freshly surfaced), and then the spiral into the waltz jump.  Ice was fast but I was feeling pretty good, and somewhat relaxed which is really unusual for me (yay!!).

Warmup ended and I got off the ice and waited for the Bronze men to finish, then I was called out for my event.  Skated into position and off I went.  Opening was good.... spiral w/arms was good... waltz jump/side toe hop was good.  Moonwalk/lunge/mohawks/cross were okay.  Spin was... meh.  2 revs I think.  By this point I was 2-3 seconds ahead of the music, I think.  Then into the lunge-3, and I caught my edge in a way I didn't plan when I came around, so that was a little off-putting but okay.  BXOs into the salchow... waaaay too much "think time" but I was still pretty ahead so not really a problem timing-wise.  The salchow... was pretty good!  I two-footed the landing (grrr!) but the salchow itself was correct (and not a spin-cow)!  So that was a first, and I was pretty happy about it.  YAY!  Finished off the two pivots and I still had some extra time so I did a swizzle-back into the final pose, and I was done.

Took my bows and got off the ice!  Alas, no medals for exhibitions so I just went and took my skates off and got comfy, then hung out to watch the rest of the skating, then we all went out for dinner.

All in all I'm really very pleased with this.  I bought the video and will post it when I get a chance.  There are still some things I want to try to improve -- mostly the spin, and a better spiral. 

Sectionals in less than 3 weeks!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

MidWinter Practice

I skated for 45 minutes at the afternoon public at East West, the venue for MidWinter tomorrow.

This turned out to be a great choice!  I got on about 1:40 (session is 1 - 4:45) and the ice was pretty dead, just me and a couple of other figure skaters and maybe 5 - 7 wallhuggers.  I ran through my 5 minute warmup and then spent the rest of the time working on problem chunks of my free skate -- mohawk/cross into the spin, the salchow, and the spiral into the waltz jump.  Then I spent some quality time on the salchow.  I managed to do 3 really good ones in a row -- I was able to make myself WAIT for it and also bend the L knee before the jump.  Whether I'll be able to do that when I have program adrenaline is anyone's guess, of course :-).  All in all it was good practice though.  Didn't want to do too much so that I don't get too tired.

This morning I went over to Paramount Iceland, the venue for PCAS this year.  It's not too far from EWIP actually, about 5 miles.  It's an older rink (opened 1940) but it has some charm to it.  It also has a real pipe organ!  Cool. 

I skate tomorrow night at 7:30ish.  I also have a couple of announcing shifts, the first announcing I've done in Southern California.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Preliminary Test & BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Café.  As usual, nice ice; and only four skaters and one coach.

I scribed some circles and then started my edges for warmup...

Today's lesson:

  • F edges -- nice.
  • B edges - also nice.  BI push has definitely improved a lot.
  • FO8 -- pretty nice.  I had some issues with the second LFO as I was a bit too concentrated on lining up my pushes and I forgot to set myself up correctly for the edge, so I was fighting my R shoulder for the first half... ugh!  My tracing was really nice on these.
  • FI8 -- as usual, pretty nice.
  • waltz-8 -- actually, pretty good.  I had one time on the L side that my step forward was really wonky but for the most part it was pretty good. Turns were nice, I'm holding the BO edge about right and while the step forward still needs some improvement it's definitely come a long way.  I was pretty happy with it and so was Lynne.
  • BO8 -- ugh.  The first couple of times on this were not so great but after I remembered/reminded myself of some key points I did a pretty nice set that I was pretty happy with.  Yay!
After my lesson I worked a little on alternating 3s and also a bit on BI8.

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Program Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  I'd not skated this session in a while; there were 6 skaters and 3 coaches so a lot busier than yesterday.

I warmed up with elements from the program (after I warmed up jumps etc.), then ran my program.  It went more or less okay but was a bit rough; spin and salchow not so great.

Next we worked on salchow a bit, then ran the program again.  This runthrough was really good!  I was really happy with it, though there were some small glitches here and there.  We made a small change -- after the lunge-3 I'll just do a push, 2 BXOs and then push back in a landing position before I step forward for the salchow.  I think this will help me set up the salchow better; right now I'm tending to just push onto the LFO and sit and think :-(.  So we worked that through and a few other places, then ran the program again.  This last runthough (just as we ran out of time) was almost as good as the 2nd one.  I'd be pretty happy with either in competition (thought I would still like a better salchow).

Figures lesson next today, then taking a day off from skating tomorrow for the trip.  Hope to have some warmup ice time on Saturday in LA somewhere, then competition Sunday.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Program Work

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

I warmed up with stroking and then warmed up some jumps and spins, then ran my free skate.  It was okay; I ended on time, but the spin and the salchow were pretty yucky.

We spent most of our time working on some specific chunks of the free skate -- the mohawk/cross into the spin, then a little time on the salchow (needs more work!) and then more time on the BXOs into the spiral.

I'm feeling somewhat better about this program but still not happy with the spin and salchow.  One more lesson tomorrow!

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016


I skated the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler as usual.  11 skaters and like 6 coaches, so kinda busy but not bad.

I worked on jumps and spins for a bit, then went on to work on some of the troublesome segments of my programs, like the mohawk/cross, the ending of the dramatic program, and the spin entrance in the free skate.  After that I ran the free skate -- not too bad, although the salchow was not too great and I did end slightly late.  Then I ran the dramatic program and I was probably 15-20 seconds late ending.... ugh.  Of course it didn't help that people got in my way, but the other big problem is, of course, I need to decrease my "think time" that I so often put in before an element.  This is the single best thing that comes out of competing, in my mind -- the ability to do an element without thinking about  it for  20 seconds first.  Still working on that in this program.

Two lessons with JJ this week (and a figures lesson) and then I'm off to MidWinter!

Monday, February 08, 2016


My choreography session with Tammy on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.  As usual,  a nice session, just Denali and I and Tammy.

I warmed up with Bronze Moves, then warmed up jumps, followed by a runthrough of my free skate.  It was more or less okay although the mohawk/cross into the spin was iffy and I was behind going into the waltz jump again :-(.

For today's choreo, we started by reviewing the last part of the program.  We ran it from the bunnyhop/lunge/toe loop into the slaloms and twizzle thing.  We practiced the latter several times -- apparently I was making it more complicated (and too many revs!) than it needs to be.  After the twizzly-thing (it's not a real twizzle) it's an LFO3 into a spin windup/spin/pose.

After that we worked on the mohawk/cross into the side toe hop.  Tammy decided to change the LFO3 after that to an LFI mohawk (with arms) as it flows better.

We only ran the program once with music; I was a little late but it was more or less okay.  I didn't die on the bunnyhop :-) so that was good.  Toe loop was kinda iffy though.


Saturday, February 06, 2016

Skate Fitting

I drove up to north Scottsdale(ish) today to be fitted for my new boots with Kelly.  He measured my feet and looked at my current boots.  It's a bit mystifying as my feet measure out at about 9 1/2 to 9 3/4 long but I'm in a 9M in my Riedells.  Still, he says the lasts haven't change so we will order the same size for me.  I'm going with the Silver Stars this time as JJ and Holly both said I need a bit more support (mostly because of my size, not because of my doubles lol!).

They should come in in 3-4 weeks (right after PCAS so that's good).  Alas if I'm remembering correctly these boots will cost me something like $250 more than the previous ones... ouch :-(.

Friday, February 05, 2016


My power lesson with Holly on the Gilbert adult skate.

Today's lesson:

  • stroking - of course.
  • lunges -- right after stroking, and I was going (relatively) fast, so I was like "at this speed?!!" and of course she said "yes".  Actually they were not bad, and they don't scare me anymore so that's good.
  • BXOs -- alternating down the length of the rink for a whole lap.  I was not impressed but Holly says they are not that bad.
  • slaloms -- of course.  2 laps!! Ugh.  Although I was kind of okay for the first lap, it's after that that it was bad.  They have improved, though.
  • BXOs -- on the circle.  As it happened we started with the harder side first.  I did get some improvement in staying down and decreasing the amount of scraping.  When we switched to the easier side, it was like night and day :-).  They actually weren't bad at all.
  • toe hops -- ugh.  alternating toe hops to each side down the line.  They got much better but I wouldn't say they weren't awkward.
  • and of course -- another lap :-)

And with that... I skated every day this week!  A total of about 5 hours.  Not bad.

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Preliminary Test & Serpentine

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Café.  I got on the ice a little late so Lynne scribed my circles while I warmed up with edges.

Today's lesson:

  • FO8 -- really pretty good.
  • FI8 -- also pretty good!
  • waltz-8 -- mmph.  The usual weaknesses.    After running the figure we spent some time just working on the BO edge/step forward.  The LBO & step is pretty weak but we made some improvements.  The RBO actually improved quite a bit.  All in all it's getting there, just need to make it more consistent.
  • serpentine -- just a few minutes on these.  Initial push is still too weak to reliably getting me around the FO->FI portion;  FI->FO is better as I push more strongly onto the FI edge.  Ugh.  We did make some improvements in the FOI change of edge though and FIO is not too bad.
After my lesson I spent the rest of the time I had on serpentine, trying to improve that FO  push.  Ugh.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Program Prep

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

Before my lesson, JJ had me arrive at 7:30 to do off-ice.  We started with jumping rope.  Yow.  He wants to get up to doing 10 jumps on each foot.  I'm going to need to work up to that.... next we worked on using the ladder to work on jumps.  First I just hopped on one foot down the length of the ladder and then returned on the opposite foot.  Next we worked on jumping from two feet and landing on the R foot in landing position (like a standing waltz jump).  Then we worked on jumping from the L foot and landing (like salchow).  From there we went on to work on the plastic spinner, first on the R foot (like backspin) and crossing the foot over, then on the L foot.

After all that it was time to get skates on and get on the ice.  I warmed up a bit and then we started our lesson.  We spent some time on the toe loop, then we worked on various pieces of the free skate, then ran it with music.  Ugh, not so great.  JJ decided to take one of the mohawk/cross moves out, so instead of R-L-R it will just be L-R.  We finished up working on the salchow/end of the program.  Still rough; I get in a weird mode in the program and rush things so it's not so good.

All in all we accomplished a lot but still feeling kind of rough with this program.  MidWinter is in a week and a half :-(.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016


I skated the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler, as usual.  I was kinda tired and unmotivated but I did manage to get some good work in.  I ran each program once and also spent a lot of time working on toe loop and practicing the dreaded bunnyhop.

Program Work

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

We spent this lesson working on program prep/review.  We spent a lot of time working on jumps, then ran the program and worked on the FO mohawk in the beginning and then ran some pieces of the program in isolation.  I am finishing behind the music :-( and really struggling with the mohawk/cross.  We worked on those a bit also but not a lot of improvement.

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Monday, February 01, 2016


I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler to work on choreography with Tammy.  I had a half hour warmup so I warmed up waltz jump, toe loop and spins, and also ran 3 Bronze Moves.

We spent most of our time today polishing and fixing.  Some specifics:
  • LOOK UP, esp. on the opening cross roll.
  • keep the chainé turns small w/hands down and free leg close.
  • stand up straight on the attitude
  • the dreaded bunnyhop was not bad!
  • for the bunnyhop/lunge/toe loop sequence bring it closer to center ice.
  • we reviewed the end, especially the slalom into the twizzly thing and final spin
  • worked on the mohawk/cross sequence to get it less choppy.  
It was a fun session and we got a lot done!