Back when I started skating I referred to Silver and Gold in joking terms. "If I ever get to Silver..." I'd laugh like it was some improbable thing in some far flung future. "Gold Moves?" I'd ask of fellow skaters. "As if!"
Well, the future is now, and Silver MIF is on my plate. Coach Fab and I started with the big beast that is the 8 Step Mohawk sequence. I suppose for those gifted with open hips, this poses little to no challenge. But for us closed hip marvels, this is scary and painful. This is not an inside mohawk, it's an outside mohawk, both directions. I can do it, but I have no rhythm to it. I hold the crossover forever, mohawk fast and step again... steps two through four happen quick and the rest of it I drag out. And of course my left side is better than my right, to the point where my right circle is slow and small and the left side is big and bold and nuts.
Cross-strokes, or Crossrolls, are next. Forward Crossrolls I always found horribly romantic, so I've tried these since day one. These are pretty good. Backwards crossrolls are smaller and need help. I know I look down a lot and I ride up on my toes which slows me down.
Which brings me to the true beast on this test.
FO/BI and FI/BO Three Turns.
Now, I have been playing with back outside threes for awhile. I could get them to work on a good day. But now we need them to start being controlled and consistent. And that means solid edges. Further, the lobes are your standard size with four forward and four backwards lobes on each side of the rink. Coach Fab was sure to count and check to see how big I had to be. And when I tried it, I was too slow. Silver simply doesn't have time for my chickenshit.
Back Inside threes terrified me, I hadn't even bothered, but when I gathered my wits about me and set my jaw, I found I could kinda do a LBI3. This morning Coach Yoda had me drill Back Insides and I did one (ONE) solid right back inside three. I was... amazed. Frankly, it's not so bad. As Coach Yoda says, "It's trust."
But once I set them on the FO/BI pattern, I was again too slow. My lobes were small and uneven, and I know judges are looking for consistency at Silver.
Edge Pulls? Again, the secret is speed and confidence. I'm way better at edge pulls backwards than I am forwards. I can't explain it. I can do backwards edge pulls until the cows come home, but forwards I can only make it halfway down the rink on my left foot and a quarter on my right.
Outside and Inside Spirals? Speed. They're just safer if you're faster. I read somewhere that this is the thing that holds Adults at Bronze... because the free leg has to be at hip height. Well, I guess all that time obsessing over it has paid off. When Coach Fab asked to see them, I did a set and he gave me a rare, "Wow. I'm impressed. I don't need to do anything with those." Even the insides, which I was sure were not great, he didn't feel the need to tinker with.
In short, Silver is Speed. Pre-Bronze you could get away with slow. Bronze you could still be a little pokey. But at Silver you have to move. It just doesn't work otherwise.
And we're looking forward to Gold MIF. We played around with Brackets one morning, and I've been doing double threes just because I can as I wind up a Patch Session. It hit me one morning during power class as we were doing fast tempo crossovers... "This is on Gold Moves. Take this seriously." Back Figure eights.. I have the outsides okay but Insides are tough.
Progress is happening. I feel like I’ve been on a plateau for a long time now, but we’re slowly chipping away at these hurdles that have been holding me back. Now if only I could start to get that Back and Sit spin under control...