Your Enthusiast Origin Stories!

Discussion in 'Corner Coffee' started by Novas, 25th Mar 2013.

  1. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Steel Vengeance
    Hmmm interesting! There's almost two phases for me. When I was a lot younger we went to various small theme parks as a family. We visited Gullivers Kingdom in Matlock Bath pretty much every year. My grandparents live down in Bournemouth so whenever we used to visit them we would have a day out at Paultons Park. And then we went on holiday to Cornwall a few times, where we visited Flambards. So all kids parks, none had any form of major rides at the time. I always enjoyed visiting them and always made sure our first ride of the day was the log flume! They used to be my favourite rides, we had some real fun on them as a family. At this time we did also have a couple of trips to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I was not big on coasters when I was younger though, in fact I was once too scared to go on Hornet at Flambards.

    So at a younger age I enjoyed visiting theme parks but wasn't mad on them. I'd never even really heard of Alton Towers back then I don't think. My first memory of Towers is actually in 2002 on the back of Corn Flakes boxes I think. There had promotions for the Tussauds parks featuring Air at Towers, Colossus at Thorpe and Vampire at Chessie. I remember thinking that Vampire looked really cool at the time!

    Then in 2004 we had a school trip to Drayton Manor. Now, when I'm going to go somewhere I like to look into it and find out stuff. So naturally I started looking on the internet trying to find out what was at Drayton etc. I think it was around this time I came across Towers on the net as well, I recall finding ATA first and having a good look there. On the trip to Drayton I went on my first ever 'thrill' coaster, the Klondike Gold Mine. I remember being really scared going on a coaster that had a loop, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting! Then later in the year we went to Alton Towers for the first time as a family, and at the end of the day I plucked up the courage to go on Air which I instantly loved! I still remember the feeling, it felt like such an achievement at the time. So I think that's where it really started. When we went the next year I rode Nemesis for the first time.

    So my interest in theme parks really started in 2004/2005. I found the likes of ATA and TT, and read the forums for a long time before joining them both in 2007. I then attend my first meet in 2008 for Corkscrew's last day and yeah, it all really took off!

  2. WillG

    WillG TowersStreet Member

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    Growing up in the Stoke area, I've always been very much an 'Alton boy' and had my first trip there when I was about 4 - I didn't go on very much, and actually didn't much like what I did go on - but even then, I was still developing a special fondness for the place.
    Family visits continued every few years, going on more rides as I got older and taller - Corkscrew in 1997 stands out particularly vividly, then finally 'graduating' to Nemesis and Oblivion when I was 12.
    And once I'd done Nemesis, that was it - the 2000 season was my first as an enthusiast, though it wasn't until a good few years after that that I visited many other parks in the UK, then moving on to mainland Europe in 2008, thanks to organised trips with my old forum :)

    Following the 2000 visit, I got in and searched the net for 'Alton Towers', attempted to create my own website on Lotus Word Processor or something, which I'd prefer to forget - played a lot of RCT as I suspect all enthusiasts were doing at that point, and the rest is history; this has got me trying to remember the old site names, which some of you old gits may remember - UKTPDB and 'SW5Live' were my earliest memories, though I was very young and quite annoying on most of those. Around 2001-2, I moved over to Alton Towers Almanac (in the days when that site had a rivalry with you guys - I do apologise, I was young and foolish :) ) then... another forum from 2004-2012. What can I say, it's been a 'rollercoaster' 14 years :D
  3. Martin

    Martin TowersStreet Member

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    You know those little toddler rides outside supermarkets where you put 50p in and they rock a bit? I used to be scared of them. Yep.

    I'm not sure at what point I stopped, but countless trips to Gullivers World as a kid. I remember sitting on the ferris wheel they used to have watching Antelope being built, so that probably planted the seeds for my interest in the engineering side of things. I used to love the rides there so that place is probably to blame. I was fascinated by the whole thing.

    Apart from fairs and Gullivers, I didn't really get on many rides for a long time. It's only since like 2006 that I've been into it. Before that, a holiday to Rhyll got me my first inverting coaster, I went Southport a couple times, but I finally got to Alton in 2006 and never looked back.

    After I got back, I found our old site and read about the rides, and I was having dreams about them for ages until I had my second trip a year later, it was probably later that year that I started reading forums and stuff. I got hooked after that and couldn't stop going, and had to learn more. I had a brief spell on CF back around 2008-2009, and joined the old place around the same time I stopped using CF.

    I'm not sure what point I became an enthusiast, I think it happened gradually. It had been growing I think since I was a kid, I've always been a bit of a thrillseeker, and I think that need for adrenaline led me to taking an interest in rides, plus the engineering side. It's not just coasters, all sorts of big engineering is interesting to me, always has been, so I think it's the combination of those two things growing, rather than just like one spontaneous trip and an epiphany.
  4. Kurtis Rogers

    Kurtis Rogers TowersStreet Member

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    Booster Maxx the only ride that still gets me
    mine started in 08/09 when in primary we were learning about advertising alton was what we focused on the teacher led us to towers nerd an towers times they had info about the rides while browsing i picked up the knowledge of sw6 later to be called thirteen that then led me to the form an i was hooked from that point
  5. josht

    josht TowersStreet Member

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    Stoke on Trent
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    bandit (movie park)
    I would say they are my best memories in life, I can remember towers from an age of 3 (1995/1996) mainly because off Peter rabbit, vintage cars and toy land tours. But my enthusiasm started in 2004 going around 4 times that year, then in 2005 I bought an annual pass and had one ever since. But Ive missed many years off forum life (only joining last year)
  6. Prometheus

    Prometheus TowersStreet Member

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    Wow! I'd forgotten all about UDMPS, that is such a blast from the past, it's where it all started for me. I followed that site all the time when DMP were just starting work on Excalibur, at the time it was codenamed Project Neptune and was rumoured to be a thrill ride or a coaster over the water which excited me muchly. I'd been to parks many times before but the intrigue about Project Neptune and following the UDMPS updates was the first time my interest went beyond just going on the rides for the buzz.

    Ironic that what became Excalibur, one of the worst rides I've ever been on was the catalyst for me becoming an enthusiast lol.
  7. Novas

    Novas TowersStreet Member

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    I remember taking pictures of Excalibur construction. The dissapointment I felt the first time I rode that thing has only ever been matched by Th13teen!

    RIP AA. I'll never forgot the comedy of that place when it was on it's last legs. Remembering the terrible 4D 'Disco' ride and the genious of re-themeing half the park to JCB always make me smile.
  8. Danza91

    Danza91 TowersStreet Member

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    I wouldn't really call myself an enthusiast these days however, I guess I still am to a degree.

    I'd always enjoyed Theme Parks, I remember in the early 00s going on Nemesis for my first time and loved it, though I didn't go on Oblivion. It was at Thorpe Park in 2003 and absolutely petrified of Colossus but I forced myself on it, of course, I loved it and from there onwards, I no longer had any kind of fear or intimidation from rides and grew to enjoy them more and more.

    In 2005 I went to Alton Towers for the first time in years and that was where it all started. I got my first rides on Oblivion, Rita, Air and others and became hooked. It was just before this visit it kind of began as I joined TTF when looking for reviews and info on Rita. After this visit, I gradually spent more and more time on the forum and began posting...a lot. Quite a lot to the point I spammed and was also named a 'Thorpe Park' fanboy and temporarily banned by an admin due to this haha.

    I think my first username was Dazaman123, then I created a new account under Dan05. Following a couple of first meets in 2006, this changed to Danzaw*nk. I also got an annual pass and ended up visiting numerous times each season attending most of the meets and met some incredible people. In 08 I had my first trips to Disneyland Paris, Europa Park and Phantasialand (on top of 2 weeks in Florida in 06) which were really great trips.

    However, in 2009 my enthusiasm for Alton Towers et al began to deteriorate simply due to overkill. For me personally, I just went too often and on top of that, there hadn't been anything to really get excited about at Alton Towers for some time. Charlie, Haunted Hollow, Mutiny Bay and Sharkbait Reef were nice additions, but nothing special. Then for a few years I headed off to university and basically, forgot about Alton Towers and Thorpe Park. I've not been to the former since August 2009.

    In the past 6 months I've been to Disneyland Paris and Thorpe Park for the first times in a few years and loved them both, it was great to enjoy them like it was my first time visiting again. In June I'll be visiting Alton Towers for the first time in nearly 4 years, also staying in Splash, and honestly cannot wait, it feels like I'm going for the first time again. It'll be good to ride Th13teen, Sub Terra and of course The Smiler.

    I wouldn't class myself as an enthusiast really, but I could possibly see that creeping back in come June...

    (Apologies for the life story)

    EDIT: I actually seem to remember my last real involvement being, regretfully, a comprehensive amount of trolling. Is Spike still about, we used to create fireworks together haha?
  9. Adam

    Adam TowersStreet Member

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    The Smiler
    ^Think yours is a life story? Wait till you've read mine then mate. :p

    Basically, I first went on a proper rollercoaster in 1998, on the little kids coaster at my local park, Pleasure Island. You could say that was when it all began. :)

    There have been two times in my life when I can honestly say I really loved theme parks, and 2004-2005 was the first. Back then I used to always nag my parents to take me to Flamingoland, and loved The Bullet and Magnum Force, which at the time were the two big rides at the park. They were my two favourite things in the world, and I must have ridden them like 100 times each in the space of those two years.

    However, all good things come to end and Flamingoland got rid of both of them at the end of 2005 (Then replaced them with a load of shyte. :p ) so my love of theme parks kinda died down, so then my biggest interest became pretending I was a cross between Andy Crosby and Alex Calvo-Garcia (Google them) in the playground and at the park. (My mates all laughed at me for choosing those two, while they were pretending to be the likes of Beckham and Zidane :p, but I was loyal to me hometown team. :) )

    Anyway, I didn't really do theme parks for the next couple of years, till September 2007, when I went to Alton Towers for the first time. That started my second phase of being a massive fan of theme parks. When I got home I went looked up all the rides and watched the videos on Youtube (That's actually a lie come to think of it, I remember that it was a school night and we didn't get back till like 10, so I did all that at school the next day :p )

    Anyway, for the next few years I loved Alton Towers, and in 2009 i found some sites called Towers Times and ATA (Google them ;)), and eventually signed up to both in early 2010, and thus began my "Enthusiast" period. I even went to TTF Meets in 2011, that was how much I loved theme parks!

    And my love of theme parks continued, till sometime in 2012. I don't know what really happened, I just kind of got bored of the whole enthusiast thing. Maybe that's what the Mayans where on about all along, although probably not. :p

    I'm going to make a confession here, I'm more "GP" than "Enthusiast" nowadays, I don't really get immersed in themeing, don't really care which company builds SW8, don't idolise John Wardley and don't really have much interest in the ins and outs of theme parks. I only really still visit this place because of the whole "community" thing, things like me and Blaze's Merseyside football banter and the occasional debate that crops up every now and then. I am the least enthusiastic person towards theme parks on TST, but that doesn't mean I still don't like them.

    This brings me on to something that's been getting on my nerves even when I was just another "coaster geek" and that is the way some people thing because they know the difference between Intamin and Vekoma they are better than the average person who goes to theme parks.

    Theme parks are for fun, and by all means people are free to have fun however they want. But just because 99% of people who go to Alton Towers on average day don't know half as much as the place as you do, doesn't mean they don't love the place, that they don't know anything about the place, that they don't appreciate themeing or landscaping. The amount of "Alton could just stick a bland coaster on the Air carpark, and most of the "GP" who visit wouldn't really care anyway" posts is just stupid. How do you know that most people won't care? At the end of the day, if you like a ride that's well themed and landscaped, so will most people. Just because your an enthusiast doesn't make you any different to the average guest when it comes to what makes a ride good. ::) /rant

    The end bit may seem off topic, but it's very much related. This topic is about how people became enthusiasts, but mine is also about how in 2012, I stopped being one. :)
  10. CGM

    CGM TowersStreet Member

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    I put it down to conditioning from a young age. As a family, we visited Alton at least once a year and for about a five year stint made pretty much annual trips to California due to my dad's work. Each time we were there, we would make a ritual visit to California's Great America and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (both had different names at the time).

    I'm pretty technically minded so the coasters at all these parks fascinated me. I couldn't ride the big ones so I'd just watch them for hours and I reckon at about the age of 6 or 7 I could tell the difference between a B&M coaster and a Vekoma. I didn't know that's what they were at the time but it was pretty clear to me that the same people who made Vortex at CGA must have made Top Gun, Nemesis and Oblivion.

    It was only when the internet became widely available a couple of years later that I was able to put names to faces as it were. I spent eons of time browsing Coaster Gallery and RCDB absorbing the facts and figures. My school library also had a rather excellent book called White Knuckle Rides which I would spend many a rainy day browsing through. I also spent untold hours on RCT2.

    In 2005, after significant amounts of lurking, I joined TTF and my enthusiasm really took off. It lead to me joining several other coaster forums around the web and I was constantly trying to persuade my family to stop off at various parks around Europe on our holidays.

    It' quite interesting to read that it happened to a lot of other people because around the end of 2009, I just became really burnt out. Thirteen was being built and it should have been really exciting but I was struggling to care.

    I spent the next few years being more interested in guitar than coasters. I still kept up to date with what was going on in the coaster world but it was nowhere near as exciting to me as before.

    However, over the last year I have gotten back into coasters in a big way. I think that coasters have been too much a part of my life for too long for me to ever abandon them. The break I had has actually done me a lot of good and made coasters all the more exciting to me now. If there was one thing that confirmed to me that I was "back", it was riding Shambhala last year. It reminded me what a really good coaster is all about and why I had found them so exciting before.
  11. BigAl

    BigAl TowersStreet Member

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    South East Cheshire
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    Forbidden Journey
    Had my first visit to Alton Towers before my first birthday in 1994 (photos of me on Toyland Tours are floating around the house somewhere :p ). For most of the 90's and up until about 2003 or 2004 my family had Tussauds Anuunal Passes and we visited Alton Towers and some of the London attractions quite frequently (minus the three theme parks down there).

    However, we stopped visiting because I'd never been much for the big rides.

    Then back in 2009 I went on a school trip to Alton Towers and decided to give Nemesis a go. Since then my love for theme parks has returned and I go on pretty much anything I can! :p

    My biggest theme park year was 2012 when I visited Alton Towers more than ever, Chessington for the first time (been a few times now). Legoland for the first time, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Thorpe Park for the second time and most of the other Merlin attractions too.

    Not sure how I'll be able to top that this year, but I aim to visit LWV, Pleasure Island and Wicksteed for the first time, as well as visit Alton Towers, Chessington and Thorpe Park more. I'd also like to visit the Pleasure Beach again for W&G and also attempt Legoland Windsor again! :p
  12. mark9

    mark9 TowersStreet Member

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    In 1992, me a mere four years old, I was taken too Chessington with my cousins, uncles and grandma. I remember seeing the Skyway trains going over the entrance, being scared of Flying Jumbos and going on Fifth Dimension and being terrified of Zappomatic and particularly his roller-skates We were tricked onto Runaway Mine Train and I had never been so scared. From then a coaster enthusiast was born.

    It was another six years before I returned with my parents to Chessington and the biggest over-riding memory was being in Transylvania, seeing a Vampire train falling around McDonalds and the Bubbleworks music enhancing the area. Rode Dragon River as well. It was over those two years that I conquered Vampire, Rodeo, Rattlesnake, Rameses Revenge, Samurai and felt I could do anything.

    In 2000, went to Towers and managed to get on Corkscrew, RMT, Rapids, Flume, Hex, Enterprise but due to business of the park never made it onto Oblivion or Nemesis. That year, also went to Phantasialand and rode Mystery Castle, a ride that really made me a thrill ride enthusiast. And its really escalated from there. Since 2000, I've become someone who appreciates a well themed ride such as Splash Mountain or Expedition Everest over a ride placed in a field. Saying that, two of my favourites rides are Superman de Acero and Katun.

    So contradictory, but then isn't that coaster enthusiasts in a nut shell. ;D
  13. LiamC

    LiamC TowersStreet Member

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    First visit was in 1994 and have visited every year since, making this my 19th season!

    We got our first PC in 2006 (late to the party round my end ;)) and naturally the first things I did was to research Alton Towers and theme parks as much as I could, eventually stumbling across Towers Times and then naturally joined TTF. Went on my first meet in 2007 with Craig, who's first meet it also was! Got my first AP that season too and visited almost every weekend after that. I, unfortunately, fell out of love in 2008 with theme parks and wasn't really about much after that unfortunately meet and post wise.

    However, after a brief (4 years :p) sabbatical I joined up here last September after what happened happened over on TTF and am naturally loving being back :)
  14. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    Nemesis, Air
    Back in 1993 I went on a school trip to Alton Towers. went on a few rides (no thunder looper, i did not like the thought lapbars on invertion coaster) a year later i went back and rode nemsesis.

    I kept going back for a couple of years until i finished school and failed to keep my visits to AT up.

    Then in 2010 my friend said about going to alton towers for a day out, It was great riding the old rides again and some of the that arrived during my break from AT.
    It became a yearly thing. ending up with my daughter being tall enough come and ride the coaster last year.

    After spending time in the queueline of coaster answering question my daughter was asking, I realized how much stuff had stuck in my head from reading this forum.

    I have been showing my daughter things about coasters and a couple of month ago she was watching Scream! If You Know the Answer USA. paused on a coaster and said "that one of nemesis and air sisters"(she does not know makers names yet) pointing at a green coaster (?? The Riddler's Revenge) with B&M track.

    What have i done, my daughter is starting to tell the diffenence between coaster makers. :D
  15. BowMan

    BowMan TowersStreet Member

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    The Capitol.
    I think it was a visit in 2007 that really sparked my interest in the Towers. I then started visiting yearly during scarefest and loving it . It was about 3 years ago when I started getting into the bigger rides as that was my first time on Air. It was also then when I started lurking on forums. I'd say a became a true enthusiast about a year or two ago when I started joining forums and going on the proper rides like Nemesis and Oblivion. (Well, I only just conquered Oblivion last Scarefest!)
  16. Dar

    Dar TowersStreet Member

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    Went to Blackpool for a fortnight every year since pretty soon after I was born, up to about 3 years ago! Missed PMBO in it's opening year because I marginally too short and my mum said no. I probably went on the Irn-Bru Revolution in the same year, 1994/1995 because my dad liked to tease me about being scared. Until I got braver than him :p

    Used to go to Great Yarmouth once a month for a wander round the town and the pleasure beach. FunFact: Me, my dad and my sister rode the log flume non-stop for a day to raise money for charity. Didn't raise much and got very wet.

    Pleasurewood hills also features, being the only other place of note in the area! Cannonball Express was a blast! Stopped going when the prices went up too high :(

    Went to Thorpe Park when Wicked Witched Haunt was still operating (loved that ride, probably nostalgia again because I've heard it was awful). They didn't really have a big rollercoaster that stuck in my mind.
    Went to Chessington the same year, old vampire trains and old Prof. Burps Bubbleworks FTFW. It was the year rattlesnake opened at chessie, I think? Sadly, that is the one and only time I've been to Chessington :(

    Went to Alton around the same time, I'm pretty sure I went in Nemesis' opening year because I have a vague recollection of ThunderLooper being there as well. I didn't go on either I don't think. Too short/scared :p That was also the last time I went there until fireworks 2010 when I went alone because a friend ditched me! Then Opening Meet 2011 to meet all you wonderful weirdos! :D

    Ironically, I joined old TTF back when the flume was being refurbished and themed to Imperial Leather but I was too scared to post and then eventually forgot my login details. I still watched though...
    Then I joined TTF at the end of 2010 again and started posting and then I joined TST and went on some meets and you haven't been able to shake me since. Also met the love of my life on here.

    I think that just about sums it up :p
  17. Joseph

    Joseph TowersStreet Member

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    This was my entry of the SW7 competition, which explains most of my background. :-[

    When I was 4 my parents made a mistake! To Alton Towers they me did take! From there on in I was hooked, at my school books I never looked! Once or twice a year I have to go there, to enjoy the rides without a care. Nemesis, Oblivion, Rita, Thirteen, on all of them I have been. River Rapids, Log Flume too, Spinball Whizzer I love you! I can't wait to ride SW7, I will be in total heaven! Please, Oh please let me be selected, Cause I'm the one who should #GetCorrected
  18. Towers freak

    Towers freak TowersStreet Member

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    I never went to a lot of Theme Parks while I was growing up but went to a few. Around 1996 my family went to Alton Towers for GMTV's Get up and Give roadshow. I was only three years old and I don't remember much about it. When I was 5 years old I went with my grandparents, brother and cousin to Chessington, I don't remember alot but I do remember going on Terror Tomb (now Tomb Blaster) with my grandad, uncle and cousin (my brother was only 4 and my gran was never a fan of rides). As a 5 year old I was completely terrified by the thing. The following year I went to Lego Land Windsor with my cousin,aunty and brother. I was now six years old so my memories are alot better. This was the day I went on my first flume and coaster; Pirate Falls and the Dragon Coaster. I loved Pirate Falls but it was a different story when it came to the Dragon Coaster. As a 6 year old it looked so big and intimidating, I didn't want to go on but to some persuasion I gave it a go. I Completely hated it and I was put off coasters for a long time.

    My Real interest started with my introduction to RCT by my uncle. I was about 9 years old and it started everything in motion. I became fascinated by these huge metal structures and started spending hours on the internet reading and researching on certain fan sites. In year 5 we all received a science magazine with an Interview with a Roller coaster designer. This was when I first discovered the man that is John Wardley. He completely fascinated me and I read this interview over and over again. I learned more about John's work on Air when the ride was featured on Blue Peter.

    By the time I was 14 my Interest had grown from interest to fascination and I had become the enthusiast I am today. In 2007 I been reading TT and the forum and decided to join. However even after all my research into coasters I still hadn't built up the courage to ride a big coaster. I wanted to get past my fear and decided I wanted to loose my Coaster Virginity that year. In February Alton Towers did it's first Half Term event with a Tiny selection of rides including Oblivion and Carters Steam Fair with a pay for ride system. I saw this as the perfect time to loose my V due to no queues to wimp out in.

    The day had finally came, this was it, no going back now, I was going to beat my demons. We headed straight to Oblivion as soon as we got on park. Walking into X-sector and seeing Oblivion for the first time ever is still fresh in my mind to this day. Seeing this huge metal intimidating structure both fascinated and terrified me but I was determined to see this through.

    I went to the exit (work was being carried out on the queue line) and paid my tokens, no going back. I went and sat on the shuttle, pulled my restraint down and belted up before my brain had time to back out.......I was ready! The lift hill was the worst part, my brain was telling me I was crazy as the anti-roll back clicked away underneath the shuttle. We inched slowly round the corner getting ever closer to the drop into the unknown, it felt like time had slowed to a crawl. Closer and heart raced faster than I had never known. The edge was getting closer. My fight or flight reactions had kicked in, I wanted to flee but I knew it was no use I had to fight. The edge of the precipice had finally come, we slowly tipped over the drop. Not looking down into the dark empty nothingness was impossible as If I was a sailor about to drop off the end of the world. Three seconds we were left there looking in to abyss but it felt like a whole lifetime away. Suddenly the shuttle released, dropping us towards the unknown, gaining speed faster and faster.... the ground getting closer. As soon as I knew it we had plunged into the darkness...the whole world was left behind....just a memory.....would I see the light again? After the long fall without warning we pulled up from our dive and up towards the small visible speck of light. We raced towards the exit, the speck growing and growing. Finally after what seamed like a lifetime we emerged from the darkness, round the U-turn and into the break run. I had survived. In the station I slowly walked off the shuttle, my legs like jelly. I was in total shock and awe of what I had just experienced, it still hadn't all sunk in ten min's later. I was a changed person but I was ready to do it again, I was hooked. I had done it and I couldn't have been more proud of myself. I returned later in the year in full season with my uncle and went on everything. Finally my fear had dissolved into nothing and as they say "the rest is history"

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