Thursday, August 18, 2011

You must be this tall – and this thin – to ride

I've got a friend who's been in training for a triathlon. The mere thought of doing a triathlon makes me shudder, but I think I found something to train for. The other day, we took the girls to Cedar Point for the first time. (For those of you unfamiliar with the name, it's a huge amusement park here in northern Ohio. It boasts ­– according to Wikipe­dia statistics – the second-most roller coasters of any park, and therefore not surprisingly, at least one coaster in the top ten of almost every superlative they list.)

I haven't been there since before we had the girls – once our preschool introduced us to Memphis Kiddie Park, our amusement-park experiences were there. Mom and Dad couldn't ride most of the rides there, but the kids had loads of fun. Now the girls have outgrown the Kiddie Park, and we've been promising a trip to Cedar Point for a couple of summers. I've been putting it off, because I knew I was just too doggoned fat to ride the rides, but it reached the point where it wasn't fair to the girls. So I looked at the calendar, found two blank days left in the summer, and asked Mr. Sane to take his pick.

The appointed day arrived, and we headed out. It turned out that both girls were tall enough to ride all the rides. They were all psyched to ride the Raptor (my favorite coaster there; the seats hang from the bottom of it, and your feet dangle in midair, and you feel like you're flying, which is really cool when you do the loop-the-loop), but we thought we'd see how they'd do on the Blue Streak, the smallest regular coaster there, which is about 6 times as high as the coaster at the Kiddie Park. Sadly, the Blue Streak was my first disappointment of the day; since the last time we were there, they've put dividers in the middle of the seats, and there was no way my butt was going to fit in half that seat. *sigh* The girls, however, were not disappointed. Beta felt the need to work her way up to the Raptor, but Alpha was totally undaunted.

My ride "success rate" was about 50-50. Older rides with bench seats were OK, unless they'd subdivided the seat as they did on the Blue Streak, or the seat belt had been shortened by repairs. The newer rides, with their seats designed to encase you while you're flipping upside down or dangling in midair or zooming downhill at highway speeds, were pretty much out of the question. Most of those newer rides had test seats near the beginning of the line. Either I'm becoming more comfortable with my fat, or my girls' enthusiasm was infectious, since I was willing to try the seats out in full view of the other folks in line – although I did harbor fantasies of being able to try them out in the privacy of the guest services building.

In the end, Mr. Sane took the girls on the roller coasters, and I took them on the spinny rides, so neither my fat nor his motion sickness got in the way. I logged over 22,500 steps, and by the end of the day, I felt it. (OK, I felt it a couple of hours before the end of the day; I'm not as young as I used to be.) So, what do you think? Maybe if I work my way up to being able to 22,500 steps comfortably, I'll also work off enough of my butt and gut to fit into the Raptor.

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