This year’s Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals were held at the Fiesta Rancho, a budget casino/hotel with the unlikely theme combination of Mexican with an ice rink. Checking in at the front desk Tuesday night with smoke drifting in from the casino, I worried that my room might be smokey and aggravate my lungs, but it was on the top floor and was fine. I stayed out of the casino itself except for one quick foray for food (Panda Express, not that good, didn’t even have tofu at that location).
Las Vegas is a cheap place to stay, especially off the strip. I think they price the rooms low at the casino/hotels and hope you will gamble. The 99 cent margaritas at the Fiesta Rancho seemed geared toward that outcome. At any rate the hotel was just $24.99 a night midweek plus a small cleaning fee and the group rate for the competition was even a little less. Good thing, since all the other expenses of competing really add up.
Wednesday morning I skated at Sobe, the casino’s rink, along with other adults there for the competition and the rink’s usual crowd. Members of the Las Vegas Figure Skating Club were there to help, and one older man in particular helped me figure out how to get my music played. I had a couple of decent run-throughs though I was feeling a bit dizzy and off balance like I might be getting a sinus infection. I decided to find an urgent care. I was amused to find that even the urgent care was decorated in bright, oversized Las Vegas style.
That was the moment when I stopped griping to myself about Vegas’ huge signage and garish architecture and starting enjoying Vegas being Vegas. The doc gave me some antibiotics and I moved on to finding a flower shop to buy a rose for my program. Then I rushed (late) to another ice rink to meet coach Gary for a lesson. We had a good lesson. My lutz had been so flakey for the last bit at home that I really wanted to take it out (coach Ty convinced me not to). At this lesson it was fine.
Thursday morning, though, at my morning practice, the lutz was just not there, though Gary spent quite a bit of time trying to help me with it. He suggested that if it were still not there on Friday’s warmup I substitute a flip. He also helped me fine-tune my rose program. Since it’s a dramatic program and technical difficulty doesn’t matter, he took out a couple of double threes that were not smooth. That turned out to be a good idea, giving me more speed and flow.
Thursday afternoon was the bronze dramatic competition. I didn’t feel particularly nervous (see my last post: I burned out most of my nerves on other things). Just before I skated I found a quiet place to sit for a few minutes with my rose and think about my dad. The program is in memory of him. I hadn’t told Gary that, but I told him near my skating time.
I skated hard on the warmup, running through my program, and for my skate I got on the ice as soon as possible after the skater before me. I skated around in small circles with my rose until my name was called. Both things helped me get ready, and when it was time I was able to skate with a good amount of speed (for me) throughout my program.
It’s not often that my program goes just as I would like in competition, but this time it did. Coach Gary was enthusiastic when I got off the ice. He thought the spiral was strong and told me I had flown into my loop. Two other skaters told me I had been very on time with my music.
After a while Gary came to get me to look at my scores. I was first! I can’t remember the last time that’s happened, and certainly not at Sectionals where my highest finish had been fourth. I went off to get my picture taken. One of Gary’s other students, a first-time competitor with great performance quality, was there with me, as was a reader of this blog (hi)!
Will share about the freestyle competition in my next post!