Monday, July 29, 2019

Skater's Mom's Weirdidity

So as I was stepping out of the gate a woman blocked me from the non-ice side of the gate.

"You skate with my daughter," she snapped.

Okay, obviously angry woman blocking my way off ice as it's being filled with hockey mites getting ready for stick and puck is a disquieting  moment. I am always nice with the pre-free kids I'm in a class with, so I have a clean conscience.

I'm ready with an answer, Like a circus psychic doing a cold reading, I ask,"She's a brunette dressed in black?"  As we all know, that's 70 % of the girls in LTS. 

"Yes," the woman continued. Still puffed up like an angry cockerel she quickly gets to the core of her attack, "You're like what? Freeskate 4? Freeskate 5?"

"Freeskate 1," I say.

The woman whips around without another word and storms into the lobby.

NO Explanation

 Well, that was a fun 30 seconds. She couldn't have waited to trap me until I was in the lobby with one boot off? And her question?  She must have seen me skate. So, WTF?

This was weeks ago and haven't seen her since---and I still have no idea which one of the brunettes in black her daughter is. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Dead Zone On Your Blades -You Didn't Know Existed (updated)

I'm going to talk about something so obscure, so obtuse, so arcane,  that you will wonder why I'm writing about it. But it pops up on figure skating groups on Facebook, on skating forums, and it deserves some explanation. 

If you have your skates handy, pick one up and look at the blade. Or you can look at the picture below. Behind the drop pick (or drag pick) you'll notice a short section of the blade that is flat, that is, it's never been sharpened. And then you'll see where the sharpening begins. Although this doesn't have an official name (you'll see why later), I see it referred to as "The Dead Zone" in numerous places.

I've seen this pop up in questions or comments that go like this:

"OMG" (insert excited voice here) "I don't think my sharpener is doing a good job! He doesn't sharpen my blades all the way to the toepick. There's this DEAD ZONE where the sharpening ends and the toepick begins. How do I find a new sharpener! He's the best locally but he doesn't do the whole blade!"

 Let's talk about how the Dead Zone is created during the sharpening process.

Below you see a shot of a skate mounted on the sharpening machine. The pink wheel is the grinding wheel. The skate blade is screwed into the carriage. In the last shot, you'll see how toepick touching the wheel (for visualization) and then a gap (the DEAD ZONE) and finally the grinding wheel touches the blade further back.

When the blade is spinning the toe pick doesn't touch the wheel. This is just a visual to get you to understand the set up

These are not my skates.  DEAR GOD what are those
holes in the side of the boots?!

Here's a close up of the Dead Zone
My sharpener and I have "differences" on whether it's a
"drag pick" or a "drop pick".

So, the 'Dead Zone'  is an artifact of sharpening. If you sharpen up to the drop pick, you will grind off the drop pick. (Or drag pick...whatever...) 

Now, does the Dead Zone matter?

I once had a skate tech that sharpened for USFS at the Olympics, that sharpened for both Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek, plus many other Olympic skaters. When I asked him about the Dead Zone--actually I just said, "what's this part of the blade that's not sharpened?", he took my boot, put the drop pick on the counter and rolled the skate blade so it rested on the counter at the same time.

"See that?" he said "If you're skating in this unsharpened area, you'll be flat on your face pretty quick. You can't skate in that area," 

So, probably, it's not (much of) an issue (probably)

 However,  a coach reports it can interfere with 
entering spins and toe assisted jump take offs.

Now we're cooking with gas because now I have to institute a test program.

Whether it makes a difference to skates being sharpened for Compulsory Figures? I don't know. There used to be a completely different sharpening process for them that is lost to time....

Monday, July 22, 2019

In Celebration of Skating in the Kids Group (Updated)

In my group class, I'm the Freeskate 1 portion, and the 2 girls are in pre-free. So Coach has me off to the side doing back edges, spins, and whatever else she thinks I need to work

Coach says:

So I do waltz 3 circle to the right. 

Coach says:
"Good Arms! Great Head Position in the turn, Wonderful turn forward. Now go to the left."


Coach says:"Did you just do..?"

But it was a great mohawk!!

So, how did I end up doing a mowhawk when I wasn't thinking about it?
To do waltz 3's in a circle, you do a FO3, step down on the free foot, then turn forward BY TURNING TO FACE THE OUTSIDE OF THE CIRCLE. This puts you in the perfect position to another FO3,

What I did was two FO3 in a row, then turned forward by facing inside the circle,  an stepped down directly into a Mohawk. Did the Mohawk, stepped down on the free foot going backwards, then turned forward facing out of the circle, and did another FO3,

And didn't think a thing about it.

Doing a skill unconsciously, that's real skill advancement !!!  

Saturday, July 20, 2019

We're Having A Heat Wave

My coach emailed me that the ice rink had offered free public passes as a public service to families in the heat.

By the time  my coach called me the rink had closed sign up for free passes, a thousand people had put their names on the list.

She advised me to cancel my lesson.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

How to Pack Your Skates in a Suitcase

There will come a day when you have to pack your skates

So a questions was asked over on
"How to pack my skates in a rolling suitcase so they don't get damaged"

Here's my reply:
You should put soakers on the skates, or if you're worried, put blade guards on before you pack.

Then never clean out your skate bag again

 Leave it filled with the detritus of failed attempts to get your boots to fit (various cut up insoles, thin leather, moleskin, etc), extra gloves that don' match, a pair of scissors, kneepads, foam ,  pieces of leather, callus doughnuts, lambs wool,  toothbrush and toothpaste for dance lessons, extra stockings, gel ankle tubes, a pair of laces, 4 blade rags with holes in them, one blade guard that doesn't match the other two, pain pills loose in the bottom of the suitcase,  a screwdriver to tighten your blade screws, and  a watch that the battery's died in and an ankle wrap, plus a t-shirt with blood on it from when you jabbed a toepick into the back of your calf when you fell on a Jenkins spiral, and an extra pair of panties that you have no idea how they got in there.

At this point, trust me, those skates ain't going anywhere. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Elaborate Custom Skates Mailed to my Skate Tech for Care

Are these Skates from the Holstein's Forever Ice Show?

He says these are Moo-shell Kwan's Skates!!

God I love a pun
(Actually my skate tech got these mailed to him from Wisconsin for care. I imagine someone out on a dairy farm who likes to skate.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Catchfoot Something.

I have to exercise my left hip several times a day by lifting my left foot up, reaching behind me with my right hand and pulling my left leg up towards my shouldr.  Off ice I can hold this position on one foot, no problem. So on the ice (while at the boards) I was able to grab my left boot from behind with my right hand and pull my foot up to relieve a hip cramp.

I know what you're thinking: Catchfoot spiral.....with opposite hand.
Carolina Kostner
Let me say, of all the skater's pictures I looked at the catchfoot spiral with the opposite hand is  3 pictures out of 400 of any kind of catchfoot spiral. And out of the 3 pictures I found of this position , 2 were adult recreational skaters. (I don't know why this is the case. Is it a points issue? Is it just an individual flexibility issue? Elite skates are very flexible. If it's worth it for points, they should be doing it in droves.)
Then there were the pictures of opposite hand catchfoot SPINS! There were more pictures of opposite hand positions for spins than for just opposite hand catchfoot spirals.  Is this happening for some balance reason? Or, again, because of points?

I know that given I'm able to do this balancing on one foot off ice, I should be more enthusiastic about it. I may have found a 'signature move' (as if spinning both ways isn't enough).  But jeeze, isn't this scary?  Crushed fingers, face planting, rolling over the ice like a walnut if I fall level of scary?

When my coach saw me pull my left leg up with my right hand she said, "Oh, we'll need to work on that as soon as you get your leg a little higher."

On the outside I'm all

I'm trapped by my coach's expectations!
Pray for me! 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Lace Police

I've had to travel heavily over the last month or reasons of family, I haven't had time to skate or post

When I got back on the ice Saturday,  to my total surprise my skills haven't dropped off! A miracle! Remember when I posted that time off ice can let your mind build up skills? I actually got better in one skill I hardly ever practice (forward edge pulls) and my bad foot and hip got better. So what am I going to post about? I'm going to post about my teeny tiny contribution to the adult skating community as a member of the "Lace Police".

When laces drag on the ice

Let's face it, sometimes it just happens, even to elite skaters. But if they're wearing
boot covers, they can keep the laces tucked in so if a lace comes untied,
at least it doesn't end up on the ice. It's rare to see this.
Nobunari Oda--during competition!!
I'm not writing about elites, or even experienced amateurs. I'm writing about people in this situation

Because, is this still a thing with 'youts'? They run around with untied shoelaces, for 'reasons'?

And when they put skates on they lace to the middle and tie a bow?

 Yes, I've become the "Lace Police"
Because once I see a dragging lace, it catches in my eye and I have to be the nice adult.
I mean I only see laces dragging on the ice one or two times a session, and I only speak to adults or older teens.  I say, "Your laces are dragging on the ice, you don't want to trip over them." That's it. If they're little kids I only point them out to the rink guard because the rink has insurance .If the guard helps the kid, they're covered if the kid falls later and some parent sues the rink.   

You'd be amazed at how many people just tuck the laces in the top of their boots and the laces fall out 30 seconds later. Meh, screw you. I gave you a helpful tip, now it's your job to fix it. 

And for the people who do fix it on their own? Most get off the ice and do it themselves, good for them. But occasionally, people will do it on ice. That's brave of them, but...

Fixing laces on the ice? That's something I don't want to see