The Ride of Steel

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Six Flags New England

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    You arrive at Six Flags New England and see Superman dominating the landscape behind everything. You make your way past Scream to the DC Comics Area and enter this exciting section of the park. It does not take long before you find yourself at the entrance of Superman with its logo above the entryway. Your height is checked and you enter the queue.

    As you wait for Superman (unfortunately, it is quite rare that you will not have to), you watch as the train soars over your head and either your nerves or excitement build up. Finally, you reach the station. If you're daring, you'll go to either the right to ride in the front or the left to ride in the back. If not, you'll find yourself going forward and picking a row somewhere in between.

    Finally, your turn is up. There is no one left in front of you and a train has just pulled into the station. It is quickly unloaded and the gates open slowly. You drop your stuff into the bins and sit down, buckling up immediately so the train can get going. After adjusting it comfortably, you pull the lap bar down and wait eagerly as the attendants check your seatbelt and lapbar. You're not waiting long before the operator's voice is heard saying "All clear!" The train begins to move forward.

    You begin to ascend the lift hill and you take in the view. To your right, you can see the rest of the park, and to your left, you can see the Connecticut River, the town of Longmeadow, and the city of Springfield. After fifty seconds that feel like hours, the train begins to level off until you feel yourself heading downward.

The train quickly gains speed as you plummet down the 221-foot drop at 77 miles per hour. The 75-degree angle of the drop makes you feel as though it is straight down. You look below at the tunnel; it definitely doesn't look big enough to enter without pulling your hands down. Nevertheless, you clear it with ease.

    The mist cools you down nicely, but now you can't see where you're going. Red neon lights flash as you hear the echoes of everyone else's screams. Finally, you begin to ascend again and are out of the tunnel. You round the top of the 145-foot second hill and feel yourself lifted out of your seat a bit. Airtime: one thing Superman is known for! After being pulled back to your seat, you head back toward the ground and into the over-banked turnaround. Because of your great speed, you hardly notice the more-than-90-degree bank of the curve.

    Coming out of the turn, you head into the straightaway, a nice respite to take in all that has happened. No sooner than your mind catches up with you do you dip a bit and head into Superman's fourth hill, achieving still more airtime. At the bottom of the hill, be sure to smile because your picture is taken for you to remember this amazing ride. Don't focus on that too long, though, or else you will miss the excitement of the fifth hill, providing still more airtime.

    You pass the station and soar over everyone's heads waiting in line. You smile as you remember yourself looking up at the speeding train. Soon, you begin to turn and head right into the ground. This is Superman's first helix. You gain speed as you feel the G-forces increase and find it harder to keep your arms up. Gradually, you decrease speed and gain altitude again, ending up right back at the beginning of the helix.

    Soon after, you find yourself heading back toward the ground, this time curving to the left. Another helix. At least this one levels off so you can enjoy the constant speed and approximately 4 G's. After what seems like a while, you begin to come out of the helix and head back up toward the sky, only to be pulled right back down again, this time, underground!

    As you head into Superman's second underground tunnel, you see all of the guests on the path watching with excitement. You are cooled by the mist again as you curve to the right out of the tunnel. As the train does not have much speed left, you know that the ride is almost over.

    As a final way of delivering more airtime, the ride concludes with a couple of bunny hops. As you come out of the second, you take a hard turn to the right and stop, going from 40-0 mph in just seconds. The brakes release their grip and you come back into the station. The lap bars go up, you unbuckle, and you get off the "#1 Coaster on the Planet." What a ride!

Copyright 2004