Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, August 31, 2017


My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Café.  Glad to be back at this time slot with nice ice :-)

I had a very short warmup and didn't get to scribe circles.

Today's lesson:

  • FI8 -- since I hadn't scribed circles, Lynne had me skate an FI8.  It was pretty good (esp. with no warmup!).
  • serpentines -- we decided not to dive back into the waltz-8 today, so we worked on these instead.  It has been quite a while.  We worked both the FOI and FIO changes of edge.  FIO was kind of rough and took me a while to get it over.  FOI is better, though it took some time for me to get it that way -- working mostly not to anticipate the change of edge, and have a good solid edge going in and a quick/definite change of edge.  More work needed!
After my lesson I spent some time on BO8 and BI8.  Fun!

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017


I skated the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler as usual tonight.  Less crowded than usual, I think there were 7 of us and 3-4 coaches.

I spent most of my time on Bronze Moves, just the power-3s, BXOs to BO edges, and 5-step mohawk.  They are all about the same.  I did some waltz jumps and salchows in the last 5 minutes, but didn't get a good sal.

Friday, August 25, 2017

XOs, Toe Loop, Salchow

My lesson with Holly on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I warmed up with perimeter XOs and stroking.

Today's lesson:

  • XOs -- I told Holly I really wanted to work on my forward crossovers, especially, as they still seem pretty clunky to me and I'm slow.  So we worked both sides on the circle.  Actually my CW FXOs are better in some ways than my CCW ones. Weird.  Some definite improvement, but I feel like I probably really need to work these a lot to maintain that.  After we worked them on the circle we did the Move several times.  A bit better, but I still feel not happy with the CW FXO when I do it in the Move context -- I don't feel I really get on a good edge.  Now that I think about it I am probably trying to do it too straight.
  • toe loop -- just a few of these.  I did one that was almost okay, and several that were better.  I need to not pick quite so far back, and slow things down so that my legs come together and I bring it around.
  • Salchow -- just a couple at the end.  Not too bad.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017


I took Monday off from skating, so today I was back on the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler as usual.

I spent about 35 minutes on warmup and Bronze Moves.  Most of them were relatively okay.  For the BXOs to BO edges I kept forgetting to look back over my free shoulder as Holly had asked me to.  Urph.  Other than that mostly okay, except for circle-8.  Ugh.

I spent the last minutes on jumps.  I did a really nice salchow (okay it was lacking height, but timing wise it was great!).  A couple of waltz jumps.  And several really bad toe loops. Gotta fix that.  Also at some point I will have to stop hiding, and work on spins again.  Eeep.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

2017 Sherwood Invitational Waltz-8, FI8

My figures competition at the 2017 Sherwood Invitational today.

After practice ice, I had about an hour so I took my skates off and tried to relax (ha!).  At 8:45 I got my skates on and we gathered at the ice door at 9 for some last minute instructions; then we got to our warmup patches and warmed up for a bit (5 or 10 minutes, I'm not sure).  The event was double-paneled so they took us two at a time, "low" events and "high" events (mine were "low", of course).  Waltz-8 was the first low event, and I was 2nd to skate that figure, so I had a little extra warmup time.  Warmup was not great (I actually fell once!) but okay.

Finally they called me out for my figure.  Kelli gave me some advice on choosing a starting spot.  I found a good spot, marked my center and pushed off!  It's kind of a blur from there.  The R side was generally okay although I was skidding a lot on the BO edge.  Sherwood's ice is really hard and fast and I didn't feel I had a good grip on it.  The L side turns were mostly really nice but my return to center was not too great, at least one time I came in 1-2 feet to the right of center.  Ugh.  In the end I managed to do the figure without falling, so that was a relief.

After I finished I returned to the warmup area and began warming up my FI8.  There were 3 of us competing that figure and once again I drew the last slot (yay!). So I ran through it 3 - 4 times and it was pretty good.  The girl before me had just finished so I skated down the side of the rink and waited for them to call me.  Kelli and I discussed good spots to start from, again.  Finally they called me out and told me they wanted me to move down the rink to a new patch (#14 to be exact).   This was nice as I could line up a few feet off a red hockey dot in a spot that wasn't too bright (they had the lights turned down so we could see our tracings better).  Again, marked my spot, took a deep breath, reminded myself to hold that darn R shoulder back (!) and pushed off!  R side was a little shaky the first time but I managed to hold a good edge and keep the shoulder back until I returned to center.  The LFI is always really nice for me so once I got to the first one I felt more confident and it was fine thereafter.  I think my R circle was still a bit smaller than the L side, but my tracing was pretty good on the L side for sure and also I think on the R side.  I was really pretty happy with it.

After I was done I skated down the side of the rink and got off the ice, put my guards on, got a drink of water and went to watch the last figure - Heath doing the RFI/LBI counter.  Eeep.  Maybe someday I can do that?

After we were all done we gathered for a group picture on-ice.  Kelli and I went to wait for results; the waltz-8 was up and I got 2nd (of 2) as I expected.  I met my fellow-competitor Jessica and we went and got our medals etc.  Waited around a bit more in the hallway for my results and when they came out, I got first (of 3) with all 1st place ordinals!


I think the last time I felt that happy about something was when I passed my APB MITF test on the 3rd try (2008).

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2017 Sherwood Invitational Figures Practice Ice

My experience at the figures competition of the Sherwood Invitational today.  This post is just for practice ice, the actual events will be posted above.

I had figures practice at 7:15 a.m. (half an hour) with Kelli. I don't remember what we've done in previous years, but we were assigned a practice patch that was the same as our patch for the warmup for competition.  I was kind of hoping we could pick our own patch, so that I could try to get a patch that was the same or close to where we would be competing (Zamboni end of the rink, vs. lobby).  As it happened I was assigned patch 4, which was conveniently right by the door.

I did an FO8 first just to warm up, then a couple of FI8s.  They were a bit rough but serviceable.  Then we ran the waltz-8 a number of times.  They were quite rough and I was skidding and scraping around and having a hard time getting back to center.  They did improve, though.  Sherwood's ice is like glass -- pretty but quite hard, and it was 50 degrees in the rink (by the time we competed it was 48!).  I was actually doing relatively well on the R side, but the return to center on the left was still giving me a lot of grief. I was also having a hard time staying in my patch -- I was not a good patch-neighbor, alas.

By the time we had to get off the ice (7:45 a.m.; figures events were at 9 a.m.) I was feeling a lot better. Not that I felt confident in general, but I felt I probably wouldn't fall.  Realistic goals :-)

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Competition Prep

My last lesson and practice before the competition this weekend! I skated the Chandler Ice Café for my figures lesson. Gorgeous ice today, and 6 skaters.

I had no real time to warmup as I was slightly late getting on the ice and we started my lesson at 12.  As a result I was kind of nervous the whole time, which is IMHO good practice for competition anyway.

For today's lesson we did a bunch of layouts on clean ice, no scribe.  We did a couple where I did an FI8, then a waltz-8 on the same circles.  Then we did several waltz-8s on clean ice.

In general the FI8 was okay, although my nerves were getting me and it definitely wasn't my best.  The waltz-8.... kind of rough, though it did get better.  Still some real control issues all around.  At least I didn't fall :p.

The figures competition is Sunday morning!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Circle-8, Jumps

My lesson with Holly on the Gilbert adult skate.  We had to reschedule due to travel.  As usual, really nice ice (except for a couple of holes) and 4-5 skaters.  I warmed up with stroking and circle-8.

Today's lesson:

  • circle-8 -- I whined to Holly about how awful these are; I'm still not getting around on the R foot.  We worked on it a bunch without much improvement.  We also experimented with starting on the L foot instead of the right. I think this is an option, but need to double-check.  It might work better though.
  • waltz jump -- just one.  Not a great landing but good height and a nice takeoff.
  • salchow -- a bunch of ukky ones and one good one.
  • toe loop  -- we worked on this a bunch.  I'm still rushing the entrance.  I had Holly hold my hand right after the 3 to get me to slow down and bring it around. It did help. I did one at the end on my own again and it was better.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017


I skated the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler for practice, as usual.  I ran through Bronze Moves, mostly about the same as last week with some small improvements.  Exception was circle-8 which was horrible -- ice was not great but I still ought to be able to get around even if the ice is crappy.

I spent the last 15 minutes on jumps.  They were all kind of crappy.  Bleah!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Competition Prep

After a wonderful time at National Showcase, and a delayed flight home last night, it was time to switch gears and get some final prep done for my figures competition at the Sherwood Invitational next weekend.  I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler for an extra lesson with Lynne.  I warmed up with edges and then scribed some circles.

Today's lesson:

  • FI8 -- we did one just-off the circles I'd scribed (a couple steps to the left).  No warmup, and it showed as I had some issues controlling the free shoulder.  After that we moved entirely off the circles to random places.  Not too bad, although I was having some definite issues being able to spot my center depending on lighting and placement (ugh).  I'm mostly feeling okay with this.
  • waltz-8 -- we started on the scribed circles and they were kind of okay, then went to random places.  Mostly not too bad, some similar issues of finding the center for return and of course my circles are still not test-worthy (very egg-shaped due to my bad step forward).  At this point I mostly just want to be able to complete the figure and not embarrass myself too badly.  From that perspective I think it will be okay.
After my lesson I just had a few moments so I mostly practiced the L side of the waltz-8 and a couple more FI8s.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017


I skated the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler for practice.  Unfortunately some work issues made me 20 minutes late so I only got 25 minutes in :-(.

I warmed up a bit, then worked on FXOs (bleah) and then some time on jumps.  Salchow, meh.  Toe loop -- still trying to get it slowed down and bring it around.  Not much progress, it was a frustrating skate.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Bronze Moves, Jumps

My lesson with Holly on the Gilbert adult skate -- moved to today due to travel this week for National Showcase.

I warmed up with some stroking, 3s and circle-8.

Today's lesson:

  • BXOs to BO edges -- we worked on getting me to look over my free shoulder on the BO edge and let it curve around more.  Real improvement!  Still up on my toe a bit on the RBO (not the LBO, kinda weird).  It's getting better though.  Would still like to improve my speed.
  • perimeter XOs -- Not bad, actually.  I ran through the whole move and then we worked some more on the FXO side as the BXOs were actually pretty good.  Holly had me work to get the lobes a bit deeper and let things curve around a bit more.  Some good work, I think.
  • waltz jump -- just a few, mostly trying to get a bit more lift and to hold the landing better.
  • salchow -- actually these are not too bad!
  • toe loop -- ugh.  We worked on getting me to check better after the turn and not bring the upper body around too quickly.  We made some progress but a long way to go.

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FI8, Waltz-8 - Competition Prep

My lesson with Lynne on the Chandler 7:30 a.m FS. 3 skaters and 3 coaches... ice was a bit beat up but serviceable.  We're in this timeslot this week and next due to my travel for National Showcase this week, and getting an extra lesson next week.

I just had time to scribe a circle and warm up with some edges.

Today's lesson:

  • FI8 -- first time was a bit rough, mostly me being sloppy about pushing with the shoulder held back.  I actually put my foot down on the LFI (normally my better side!) because I pushed really hard but didn't lock my core.  Eeep.  We did it a second time and it was much better.  Tracing was good but circle size is a little small, not sure what's up with that.
  • waltz-8 -- about 20 minutes on these.  On the positive side, I am generally sort of coming back to center and it's not as horrible as it was, and I am doing the RFO3 reliably on restart (*phew).  My left circle is kind of small though, and my FO edge for the return to center is rather inconsistent -- sometimes almost okay and sometimes really horrible. Yuck.
I had just a few minutes after my lesson to practice.  Very little practice time left before the competition!

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017


I skated the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler today.  I spent the first 30 minutes on moves -- perimeter XOs (slow), power-3s (yuck), circle-8 (real issues with the RFO) and 5-step mohawk (improving).  I skipped the BXOs to BO edges because the session was very busy.

I spent the last 15 minutes on jumps.  Several bad salchows and then a really good one (yay!), a couple of okay waltz jumps (landing was better) and then a bunch of work on toe loop.  Still trying to get the toe loop to not be a toe waltz.  Yuck.

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler Ice Café for patch practice today. Just 45 minutes.  Relatively crowded session (9 skaters and 1 coach).

I warmed up with edges, then spent about 20 minutes on FI8. In general pretty good but I do need to watch that RFI, need to hold that shoulder back consistently.

I then spent about 20 minutes on waltz-8.  I ran through it twice and actually, both times it was -- almost okay!  A very pleasant surprise.  I did put my foot down a couple of times (urph!) but really, much better.  From there I went to just work on the L side and my return to center was horrible. Ugh.

Competition is less than 3 weeks away! I've been told I will have competition on both the FI8 and waltz-8, so yay!