This was the Cyclone on Coney Island, the world famous granddaddy of all wooden roller coasters, built in 1927 and now a New York City Landmark. At the end of the season Astroland will be torn down, the land having been sold to developers. The Cyclone will remain, but will it stay open? I had never ridden the Cyclone and I wasn't going to miss my chance.
I traveled to Brooklyn on Saturday and now I was in a roller coaster car, perched atop the first steep hill of the one-minute and fifty-second ride. The car stopped for a fraction of a second, then plunged over the edge and went straight down. Everybody screamed as we roared towards the ground at 60 MPH. Suddenly the car jerked left. Everybody’s head snapped to the right. Up another hill. Down the other side. Sharp right turn this time. Our heads snapped to the left. We shot up another hill, slighter than before, and endured another dizzying descent. Up and over again. Straight up. Straight down. The hills were diminishing in height but the turns remained as fast and tight as ever. Then we were thundering into the loading area and rapidly decelerating. The car stopped.
A sign there read, "Ride Again $4." Quite a deal, since the first ride had cost $6. As I walked out, a hawker said, "Ride again? Three bucks." "Nahh," I murmured. My clacking, careening ride on the Cyclone was already stored in my memory, in the "terrific" section.
I don’t like riding modern metal roller coasters with their excessive speed, nauseating corkscrew turns and smooth vibration-free transitions. But the clattering, lurching, shaking ride aboard this compact wood twister had been the perfect length, speed and thrill. I headed towards the boardwalk in search of the original Nathan’s so I could sample an authentic Coney Island Dog.
Running update. I want to thank Susan for her generous support of my intention to run Chicago in the fall for a charity, A Running Start. My training is on hold right now. The day after my July 4th race, I ran a mile at an eight minute pace to see how my injured left leg was feeling. Not good. I have decided to rest it. I haven’t run for five days now and it's driving me crazy.