I love the thought of extreme rides.
But I have to admit, after all these years I still get a bit nervous the first time I ride a new one.
I distinctly remember standing on a platform on the ceiling of the I-X Center years back and thinking bungee jumping is about the dumbest thing I have tried.
Sitting on the launch pad of another bungee-type contraption, the SlingShot, at Cedar Point Wednesday morning with fellow thrill-seeker, my son, Ryan, was yet one more of those "what-have-I-gotten-myself-into moments."
Statistically, the SlingShot is impressive. It flings riders 35 stories in the air at speeds topping 60 miles per hour.
The new attraction that opens today towers over the park’s revamped Gemini Midway and is second in height only to the Top Thrill Dragster.
So there we sat — waiting to be catapulted into oblivion.
"Ready," the ride op said.
I was clearly not ready.
The only thought in my head was not about the wellbeing of my goofy teenage son, but rather the number of seagulls that fly over the lakefront park and what would happen if we collided with one.
And faster than you can say, "Stop, I’ve changed my..." We were off.
My stomach was boldly going where it had never been before — somewhere around my toes. It was being followed by brain — which for some reason — seemed to be traveling a bit slower.
My first thought was phew. No sea gulls!
The next alarm bell going off in my brain was whether the rubber bands preventing this contraption from flinging us either into Lake Erie or the park’s Maverick roller coaster would hold.
And better yet, would the harness holding in me place withstand the rigors of my big frame travelling from 60 mph to an abrupt stop high above the park.
As for my son, Ryan, at this point he was on his own. It was an every-man-for-himself moment.
I may have blacked out for a bit, but I am told that I left out some odd groans, may have cried a bit and mumbled something about newspapers, the Internet and Rosebud.
What goes up, must come down. And down we went with just slightly less force.
It was a race for survival and it appeared gravity was about to win.
But thanks to the marvels of rubber-band technology, we did not leave a lasting impression on the midway below.
And so we bounced up and down as physics took its course and our innards somehow miraculously found their way back into place.
The views of the park’s impressive collection of coasters and rides is spectacular as it suspends you for bit high off the ground.
With our feet back on safe ground, it was time to do the checklist.
Head in place? Check.
Shoes still on feet? Check.
Car keys accounted for? Check.
Dignity and self-respect? Um... gone.
The Slingshot is definitely a high-intensity thrill ride that is not for the faint of heart. But the actual terrifying part is rather short lived and lasts just a few seconds as you soar toward the heavens.
And that last moment before the bungee pulls you back to Earth is my favorite part. You experience a moment of weightlessness and have nothing but the blue sky ahead of you. It is pretty spectacular.
The ride is actually very smooth and does not rattle you around at all.
It costs $25 per rider and two riders are required. If you want to purchase a video of your experience that costs an additional $19.99.
While $70 may seem a bit high, from my son’s perspective — owning a video of his dad terrified is priceless.