A Much Deserved Break… and Crunching Some Numbers at Six Flags Magic Mountain

I’m so excited to be on a break from racing. I’m not doing any races in May, and I’m going to enjoy that. I’ll still be exercising, but with a little more freedom, as there are no looming stair races in the near future.

I’ve earned this reprieve. I competed in seven races during a nine-weekend span, so, yeah, I’m pooped! (Six of them were stair races, and the seventh was a 10K at Six Flags Magic Mountain.)

And now I won’t be pinning a bib to my chest until early June, when I compete in Tower 2 Tower, a fun little event that combines stairs with an obstacle course. (Read last year’s recap here.)

I was planning on doing a second stair race in June, the San Diego Towerthon, a 2-hour endurance event that is quite literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I learned a few days ago that the race won’t be happening this year. What a bummer. The charity that puts it on is instead focusing on what they are calling a “short walk.” I’m not going to San Diego to walk.

The cancellation of the Towerthon means San Diego is now one of the largest cities in the US that doesn’t have a stair race. Hopefully a new organization with step up (literally) and put one on!

Like I said earlier, I’m just taking a break from racing, not exercising. I met my friend Jonathan for a hike the other day, and we covered five miles in the Santa Monica Mountains, on a new-to-me trail that we accessed near the Cold-War-era missile detection facility that’s still standing.

It was a clear day, and we were treated to views of the Pacific in the distance.

A gorgeous way to spend a gorgeous day.

I mentioned Six Flags Magic Mountain earlier, as the venue for the recent 10K run I did, and that run had actually gotten me thinking more about exercise at Six Flags.

We also know that theme parks are exhausting – so much walking! One of the reasons that 10K was so appealing to me is because it added a very structured race to a location where I’ve done lots of walking on many occasions. Ever since then, I’ve been wondering how much I actually walk when I visit Six Flags.

I recently went back to Six Flags, and did some measurements. I used the Runkeeper app on my phone to measure distances. It’s a quarter of a mile from the front gate to the start of the parking lot, so an outing to Six Flags will involve at least a half mile of walking to and from your car, and probably significantly further, depending on your parking spot, because that is one huge lot. (There’s also shuttles, if you want to skip that walk. I’ve never taken one.)

Universal Studios spoiled me, in regards to exercising within a theme park. They have an enormous 345-step stairway connecting two parts of the park, and I’ve been known to go to Universal to run those stairs for 45-60 minutes before allowing myself to go on any rides.

Six Flags has no such stairway. There’s a big hill in the middle of the park, so there’s some steep paths to get up there, and a few stairways here and there (the longest of which is between Tatsu and Ninja and has about 40 steps divided between 4 flights), but nothing as awesome as the Universal stairs.

So I decided to also measure the distance of the main path that runs in a big circle around the whole park. There are other paths that digress from the main circle, but you aren’t going far without returning to the circle eventually.

That circle is 1.15 miles. I walked it without stopping, and it took me about 18 minutes. No wait, I stopped once, and that’s because I realized there were incredible stairways all around me. Up the lift hills of the coasters! Too bad they’re not open to the public. Riddler’s Revenge was closed for maintenance, and I saw two employees climbing the stairs, already above the trees, and I got a little jealous, so I stopped and snapped a photo.

Six Flags also has a 38-story observation tower that’s been closed for years. You can see the stairs from all over the park, but even when the tower was open, they took you to the top in elevators. That tower would be an incredible place for a stair race!

All told, based on my measurements and calculations, I know for certain that I walked 4.5 miles that day at Six Flags, and in all likelihood, I probably walked well over five. (I didn’t measure everything, because I didn’t want the app running all day long on my phone and draining the battery.)

And I went on rides, too! Thirteen of them. Here’s me on Jet Stream, a water ride I went on by myself.

Keep it up, David!


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6 Responses to A Much Deserved Break… and Crunching Some Numbers at Six Flags Magic Mountain

  1. Jeff Dinkin says:

    You’ve definitely earned a hiatus. Turns out, your next race will also be my next race! I’ve resumed training as of yesterday – so maybe I won’t make a fool of myself like at AON.

    • David says:

      YES! Great news. And you certainly didn’t make a fool of yourself at AON!

    • G.M. Grena says:

      That’s funny–one of the guys I look up to for inspriation to go faster thought he made a fool of himself! Ha! And speaking of cancellations, I also noticed this week that Aztlan nixed their Stairs Only race this year in Culver City. They’re still doing the combo 5k, but it’s unfortunate that they canceled instead of improved their handling of the Stairs Only. Oh well…

      • David says:

        Stair races getting cancelled left and right this year! I’ll still do the 5K combo, though… that’s a challenging race!

  2. Tippie Canoe says:

    Sad to hear that the S.D. race is not happening this year.

    This it not a race, but it is a fun stair climb event in San Diego.


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