(Pics courtesy of CedarPoint.com and ME!)
I’ve never felt such a fear in the pit of my stomach.
I stood, staring at the 400-foot-tall straight up and down monster, the Top Thrill Dragster. While we had stood in line with other coasters and watched the people emerge from the thrill ride looking excited, most people who rode on this one just seemed thankful to get off alive and without soiling themselves.
While the four of us visiting Cedar Point Amusement Park, right on Lake Erie in Ohio, stood in the hour-long ride for this torture, we passed a sign that said something along the lines of, “You stupid idiot: Why are you riding this ride? Oh, and btw, guess what? Sometimes it doesn’t make it over the hill. But don’t worry. That’s normal, and we’ll just try again.”
Or, at least, it sounded that way to me.
I’m a thrill seeker. In fact, I made that stupid, asinine statement not 30 minutes earlier to getting in line for the Dragster. Which is why I felt peer pressured into riding the contraption. I mean, everyone else was doing it…even kids who I couldn’t believe passed the height requirement.
We got to the front of the line. Four people stood ahead of us, so it would be two rides (which only took 17 seconds from start to finish – no joke) before we took the plunge. My stomach was tied up in knots. The next group got on the ride.
They slowly rolled about 10 feet out, to the starting point. After that, they would zoom to 120 mph in 4 seconds in order to make the 90-degree angle up 400 feet and then curve over and come straight down 400 feet. It took eight seconds to get up that high and five to get down. I timed it several times.
But, for this group ahead of us, the roller coaster did not go. It stopped.
The machine shut down, and mechanics were called in. MECHANICS WERE CALLED IN. I started praying, “Please, please, please, let it be shut down for good. Let it be DEAD.”
Unfortunately, though, the ride came back to life not 15 minutes later.
The people who were on the comatose ride were still in their seats. No test dummies were shot up. THEY were shot up. I would have needed a change of clothes.
But they survived. And the second group got on. They made it up, up…and over.
And then it was our turn.
Superman looked at me. “It’s okay if you don’t want to ride,” he assured me.
“Do you want to?” I asked nervously.
“Well, yes,” he admitted, “but if you don’t want to ride, that’s fine.”
“No, I’m gonna ride,” I replied. Like I said, if everyone else is doing it…
I buckled my seatbelt as tight as it would go and pulled the small bar across my waist. Where were the shoulder harnesses? If any ride needed a shoulder harness, it was definitely this one –
I had no time to think. I had no time to react. I was suddenly going 120 mph.
I didn’t know if I was going up or down due to the speed. Cautiously, I peeked my eyes open and realized we had reached the top of the hill, and I was looking straight down.
My eyes shut immediately.
I survived the ride. I survived the Top Thrill Dragster, and I gotta admit, it definitely lives up to its name.
But when I was asked if I wanted to ride it again…I said I’d pass.