by Andrew Rybarczyk
I love roller coasters. I love everything about them. I love the freedom I have when riding them. I love the feelings that can be obtained only on them. I love the way they look. I love the way they sound. I love roller coasters. Now that those declarations are out of the way, you're probably wondering who I am. My name is Andrew (more commonly referred to as TheHSBR) and I've had a love affair with roller coasters for the last twenty years. Let me start by telling you a tale that brought us to where we are today...
My real fascination with roller coasters started at Santa's Village in Elgin, Illinois. It started with multiple laps on the most terrifying, the most awe inspiring coaster I have ever seen (at that time)...Dracor! I can remember taking multiple laps on that ride and loving every second of it. My love affair grew up very quickly when my family took our first vacation to Cedar Point in 1992. Living in Chicago, this was a big trip. The park was so different back then. No Raptor, no Millennium, no Maverick but it still had that special something. It was awe inspiring, so many rides and so many big rides. For a ten year old it was almost too much to handle. I almost don't want to say this next part of the story. It's my greatest shame and my biggest secret. That first trip to Cedar Point, I was too afraid to ride Magnum. Yes its true, the great ride warrior who today will not back down from any coaster was too afraid to ride Magnum. My little seven year old brother rode it. I still claim it's because he was too dumb to be afraid (sorry Scooter!). In any case, I did not ride. My greatest shame is there laid bare for all to see.
Luckily, that is not the end of this tale. The next year I came back to Cedar Point and tackled the great new beast known as Snake River Falls. Always watching though was my great nemesis, standing 200 feet tall and always casting a menacing look towards my direction. Needless to say, Magnum would not win this day. As the t-shirt boldly states, I did indeed conquer Magnum XL-200 that day. Never again would a roller coaster hold the power of fear over me. Never again would I be bested by a finely crafted and a finely tuned engineering marvel. From that point forward, even if at the time I didn't know what it was called, I was a Ride Warrior.