I was prepared to scream my head off. After all, Carowinds'Fury 325 is the tallest and fastest giga coaster in North America - 325 feet high, with speeds of almost 100 mph - and I had just strapped myself into it with only a seat belt and a lap bar.
As we rapidly climbed the first hill, already alarmingly steep on the way up, I began to wonder how one actually tests the safety of a roller coaster. Hopefully, I thought, "Media Day" wasn't some kind of euphemism for human trials. When we came to the crest of the hill, I looked down to the ground far, far below me and began to contemplate my mortality.
When we started falling, basically face-first toward the ground, I opened my mouth to scream. Nothing came out. My mouth stayed open, though, because my whole body froze, every muscle tensed and the force of the wind took away any ability to breathe.
And then, just as I thought I couldn't stand it anymore, the car swooped up. Suddenly, we were on our side.
I could breathe, but my cheeks felt like they were sliding off my face. My mouth, of course, was still gaping open because the G-force wouldn't let me close it. At some point, I became aware that my friend sitting next to me had her hands up and seemed to be laughing. Maybe she was laughing at her impending doom?
The blue sky spun around my head. I wondered what all the screaming was and realized it was me (and apparently everybody else aboard.) Then I realized I was drooling. And my bra straps were falling down. But none of that mattered.
Fury 325 was awesome in every sense of the word. Because of the magic of physics and the engineering of the coaster, you spend an enormous amount of time weightless. Your entire body lifts and hovers in the air, held back from launching into the sky only by the lap bar. It's the closest I'll ever come to really flying. It's terrifying and thrilling and liberating and joyful all at the same time.
You know at the end of a roller coaster ride, when you get to go over some gentle hills and then calm down? This roller coaster doesn't do that. You're flying for the entire 3½ minutes.
When the car pulled to a stop, every muscle finally relaxed. I was spent. Exhausted but exhilarated.