To roller coaster fans, Ohio’s Cedar Point is thrill ride paradise. Millennium Force, Maverick, GateKeeper: These names might not mean anything to you, but the mere mention of them or the amusement park’s other enshrined coasters is enough to send ride enthusiasts’ hearts aflutter.
Then there is Mean Streak. Cedar Point’s wooden coaster is so brutal, even enthusiasts would rather blithely walk past its hulking structure then risk subjecting their body parts to excessive fluttering.
Or, I should say, then there was Mean Streak. Cedar Point shuttered the much-maligned coaster and retooled it as the hybrid steel-meets-wood Steel Vengeance. After a two-year transformation, it officially reopens on May 5. I had the opportunity to preview the reborn ride and have a world of caution for my fellow coaster enthusiasts as well as casual park visitors: Prepare to be blown away. Steel Vengeance is that good.
Rocky Mountain Construction, an Idaho-based ride manufacturer, has built its reputation by taking long-past-their-prime, excessively rough wooden coasters, ripping out their wooden tracks, and replacing them with the company’s patented IBox steel track. Instead of the conventional tubular pipe track found on most steel coasters, RMC’s track is flat on top and has channels on its sides into which the trains’ up-stop wheels fit. The reconfigured track enables the coasters to deliver remarkably precise, smooth rides.