Monday, July 18, 2011

The Great Adventure Challenge - Rolling Thunder Edition

One of the permanent routes I manage is the Great Adventure 112k.  It is a 70 mile out and back from Hillsborough to Jackson, NJ.  The name Great Adventure was derived from the Six Flags theme park which is located just 2 1/2 miles from the halfway point.  In the many times I've done the ride I'd often thought that it might be neat to visit the park.  Although, I questioned what could be accomplished in the brief time available for a typical brevet stop. Well? From the deep dark recesses of a twisted mind an idea bubbled to the surface.  The concept that was born became the Great Adventure Challenge.  Basically, within the legal constraints of the brevet the rider(s) arrives at the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park, takes a ride on one of the many roller coasters.  Then returns to the permanent route to finish the ride within the time limit.  Not being one to ask another to attempt something I wouldn't do I would be the first rider to take the challenge.

On a Wednesday morning I departed from the Plaza Deli in Hillsborough on my Jamis Sputnik (fixie). I followed the route to the official control in Jackson where I refilled my water and verified my brevet card.  After which I rode 2.5 off route miles to the Six Flags theme park.  After a bit of a hassle and time delay gaining entry to the parking area, I find a spot to lock up the bike.  Conveniently, there are locker rentals in the building right next to it.  I slip on a pair of baggy shorts over my bike shorts, change into sneakers, and change out my jersey for a tee shirt.  I then rent a small locker to store my back pack, helmet, and various other stuff in.  I gain entry to the park with the discount pass I purchased on the internet.  After walking around a bit I find a roller coaster with no line.  It's called Rolling Thunder.  It's wood and about thirty years old.  I'm hoping it has at least one more run left in it before it collapses.  In a matter of moments I am being towed up to a height of 100 feet.  After a little more than two minutes of bone jarring maneuvers my train arrives back at the starting point.  As soon as I am released I start running to the exit.  I've spent over an hour and a half at the park in total.  I jog back to the locker, changing back to bike clothes like a triathlete in a transition area.  With the bike unlocked and the pack on my back I start hammering for the exit to Monmouth Road.  I have a ways to go to get back on course.  I just make the turn on Millstone Road, back on the official route, when the skies open up with rain bucketing down.  I continue on despite hearing thunder overhead.  The rain continues, varying between hard and ridiculously, hard for the next 10 miles to Monroe Township.  At that point everything is as if rain never happened.  The remainder of the ride is dry with a tailwind.  I take full advantage of it arriving at the finish at 3:15pm forty three minutes in advance of the cut-off.


It can get boring doing the same old thing all the time.  Changing up a bit can breathe new life into an old activity.  The Great Adventure Challenge came about as a bit of a lark, but I now present it as an opportunity to try something different.  Is it odd, silly, maybe even a little juvenile?  Definitely!  But, on the other hand one could make an argument that riding a bike 70 miles to visit a mini-mart qualifies as well.  Combining multiple activities into one event is not something new.  The pentathlon has been around a long time.  Also, triathlons, while somewhat newer, seem to attract hordes of folks who seamlessly go from one activity to another in the confines of a single event.  In that light I offer this challenge to anyone who dares to accept it.  Successful completions of the GA Challenge will earn a permanent place on the honor roll, which I will maintain on the blog.  Up the ante if you like by adding additional rides to the theme park portion of the event.  I am now considering the Super Hero Great Adventure Challenge, which incorporates the Superman, Batman and Green Lantern roller coaster rides into the permanent.  This will not be an easy undertaking as the waiting time to board those rides can be long.  The timing will have to be impeccable.  As with any randonneuring activity outside support is strictly prohibited.  So, having someone hold a place in line is not in the spirit of the event.  If this all sounds kind of crazy, then I'm on the right track.
View subsequent GA Challenges below.  Boo-Ya!

July 20th - Great Adventure Challenge - Superman Edition
Rider - Joe K        Time - 6hrs 50min
The Superman Ultimate Flight is a looping coaster
Your truly suffering hearing damage by the screaming teenager on my left

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