Stories tagged very interesting

Here's some pretty intense video of a red-tailed hawk trying to get a little eggy meal at a bald eagle nest in New Jersey. Let's just say it doesn't go well for the hawk.

Jul
20
2007

Twist and shout: Renegade's first drop falls 91 feet and does a 90-degree twist to boot. (Image courtesy of Valleyfair)
Twist and shout: Renegade's first drop falls 91 feet and does a 90-degree twist to boot. (Image courtesy of Valleyfair)
I confess – I’m a roller coaster-holic. Last weekend I had the chance to try the newest roller coaster here in the Twin Cities: Renegade at Valleyfair Amusement Park. It was so cool, I had to check around to get the scientific scoop on this coaster. It’s simply the fastest rolling ride I’ve ever had.

To be honest, I wasn’t impressed to hear that the park was building a new wood roller coaster. The steel-tube model coasters have a lot higher performance specifications when it comes to height, speed and scariness. So I was pretty nonchalant as the train headed to the top of Renegade on our first ride. That changed in a hurry.

We ripped down a 91-foot twisting hill at a speed of 52 miles per hour and didn’t seem to slow down a bit until the end two minutes later. Valleyfair’s Caleb Lauritsen shared with me the significant differences between Renegade and most other roller coasters you’ve ridden.

Low rider: After the first big drop, Renegade hangs on to a lot of its kinetic energy by racing around a relatively flat track without a lot of big hills like most other roller coasters. (Image courtesy of Valleyfair)
Low rider: After the first big drop, Renegade hangs on to a lot of its kinetic energy by racing around a relatively flat track without a lot of big hills like most other roller coasters. (Image courtesy of Valleyfair)
“The rest of the track is mostly low to the ground. The trains have a large potential energy at the top of the first lift hill. That is transferred into kinetic energy on the way down the first drop. Since there are really no other extremely large hills on the ride after the first drop, the kinetic energy is maintained throughout,” Caleb shared in his e-mail to me. “This differs from, for example, the High Roller (the park’s other wood roller coaster). That coaster has several hills that are nearly as tall as the main lift hill -- which results in the kinetic energy being transferred back into potential energy several times during the ride.”

He continued: “Also notable is the construction of the trains. On most roller coasters, the train is made up of several cars that each sit on four wheels, with two or three rows of seats on each car. The cars on Renegade each have only one row of seats and one set of wheels. That allows the train to articulate "snakelike" along an extremely twisted layout.”

There is also some pretty steep banking on the corners of the track. At times it felt like your hears were parallel to the ground. And that banking, just like we see on a lesser extent on highways, helps maintain speed and energy through a corner.

Construction of Renegade was featured on Discovery Channel’s “Build it Bigger” show earlier this month. That episode will be reaired Monday, July 23, at 9 p.m. and again Wednesday, July 24, at 1 a.m.

Okay, so we’ve got the science stuff out of the way…the other cool thing about Renegade is that it’s named after that old Styx song by the same name. You can’t beat that 70’s music, can you?