This past weekend I decided that Sunday would be the perfect day for me to do what I had been dreaming (sometimes literally) of since way back in June. I had been looking forward to doing a marathon on my #1 coaster all summer and fall, and I was just biding my time until the perfect opportunity presented itself (that, and I could get away from my job for a day).
The weather was perfect (especially after what seemed like days and days of rain) and I figured crowds would be lighter on a Sunday, so I headed out and got to HP around 12:45. I was thrilled to find an almost empty parking lot, but I was worried when I didn't see any trains running on my #1 as I walked across the lot. It would have been horrible to find it closed for the day, but thankfully that wasn't to be the case.
Once I got inside the park, I went against the general "rule" that you should head away from the Hollow and back towards the other side of the park. And I was rewarded handsomely when I got to the end of the path (which oddly enough, many of the GP didn't seem to notice was there) and realized that the "line" was only a handful of people at the top of the stairway of Skyrush's station. So I jumped right in and got several rides (didn't bother waiting for the front, as one seat on each train was roped off, and that made the front line way slower than it would normally be), all in middle seats, and most in the very back. All in all I got 10 rides to start my day there.
So I decided to take a break (it was around 2pm or so) and I did a front seat ride on SDL, and then one on Great Bear. In fact, all day just about every coaster was a walk-on, and maybe a 5 minute wait for the front. Then I got something to eat and not wanting to provoke a bought of indigestion by riding something, I took a walk thru the zoo, which I hadn't visited in a long while.
Then I headed over to Storm Runner and got 2 front seat rides (one on each side - this time only the fast lane was roped off, so the lines moved pretty well). I had heard from someone earlier that Fahrenheit was also a walk-on, but due to my recent meal, I decided to pass on it (that, and I'm not that crazy about it). So I made for Lightning Racer, and found to my chagrin that it had the longest coaster lines (other than maybe the mouse, which I didn't ride, also didn't ride the spine-busting Wildcat) in the park. They were only running one train on each side (which is probably par for the course for late in the season), but the glacial pace of the ride ops made it far worse. It took me probably ten minutes to get a front seat ride, and about five minutes for a back seat ride. I only rode it twice because I didn't feel like waiting, and also my #1 was beckoning me back again for another round of rides.
So I went back to the Hollow and the lines were no longer than they were before. So I began another mini-marathon, and this time I made what was, at the time, a risky decision. I was in line for row 4, and there happened to be one empty wing seat, and the ride op invited me to take it (since the ride ops by now knew I was on a mission). Well, once I got locked in, I knew either I'd screw up my back and I'd be done for the day, or I'd survive it and keep right on going. Luckily I made the right decision, and I was able to ride in row four without any issues (mostly by hunching over in the couple of spots that are most likely to jostle my back, rather than sitting up straight).
So then I got even more bold, and went for one of the infamous back wing seats, this time in the left one. I figured there's no sense in having a favorite coaster if you can't ride in all of the seats, especially since I like the back so much.
After all this time, and a whole summer of working up to it, I finally got to experience the most ferocious part of Skyrush, and yes, the forces are indeed mind-blowing in those back wing seats. And I was able to do it without it bothering my back.
So I got my total count up to 30 (for the year all together) and then I decided to take another break. It was starting to get dark, and I got something to eat again, and I took a ride on the swing (long story here - that was my best friend's favorite flat ride, and I always try to ride them in her memory).
Then it was time for the final round - it was my goal to do another ten rides, which would put me at 40 for the year, and 27 that day. So I started again, and by this time I my legs were pretty tired of going up and down the stairs (I might have been able to stay on a couple of times, but I also sort of needed to give my legs a break from the vise-grip restraints), but I kept going, and finally, once most all of my energy was spent, I took my last ride of the season in the back right wing seat.
So there I was, with 40 rides on my #1 under my belt, and I was glad I was able to ride in ALL of the back row and not just the center seats (though I did take a break riding in them because the wing seats can be hard to take back-to-back).
And I'd be lying if I said my legs didn't hurt when I left the park that night, but it also occurred to me that much of the pain was caused not as much by the pressure of the restraint (at this this is the case for me) but by the way riders are jammed up into it on those airtime hills. So IMO even if Skyrush had B&M type restraints, it would still hurt (eventually, after multiple rides) simply because of the ferocity of the negative g's. I also got to thinking that a B&M style lap restraint would be insufficient to prevent riders from being ripped out of their seats, so it may be that there would be no way for Skyrush to have a different kind of restraint, unless of course, it had ones like on I-305. But then again, I-305 lacks the killer negative g's of Skyrush. And people have suggested that moving the lap bar back towards a rider's waist would help, but even there it would probably hurt, simply because of the extreme forces.
That said, Skyrush is still my #1, "warts" and all, and I will be back again next year to add to my count. BTW, I haven't kept count on rides on a single coaster (nor have I done such an intensive marathon - maybe 10 or 12 rides a day has been about my limit for some time, even during ACE events) since Goliath at SFMM opened back in 2000.