Looking into the dark tunnel from the top can be intimidating. As I stood in line for my first run, a woman came back down the stairs. "I chickened out when I saw that black hole," she said, without the least bit of shame. That tipped me off to what I was about to encounter.
When I reached the front, the crew member loading the riders told me a good time is about 12 seconds, and can be even faster in the summer when the surface heats up. (There are two tubes, and you can race a friend down to the bottom.) Ready for the thrill ride, I got situated on the soft sliding pad with footholds and a handle, and was given the countdown to go. I pulled on a starting bar to generate momentum before leaning back to enjoy the ride, which takes you down a twisting tube filled with a series of psychedelic lights. It was over in a snap, and I think my screams thrilled the people awaiting my reception at the bottom.