Racer Reports

I'm Not on Steroids

She says as much in an interview at the beginning, describing herself as being sometimes “snippy,” which makes me a lot more forgiving of it.
Aaron & Hayden

We got more good, steady racing from these two this week. They may not be the most colorful team out there (all right, they are anything but) — but they keep moving right along, even though Hayden is definitely getting grouchy at times. She says as much in an interview at the beginning, describing herself as being sometimes “snippy,” which makes me a lot more forgiving of it.

The (as usual) misleading promo made their confrontation with Lori and Bolo look far more serious than it was. I’m pretty sure racers have gotten tickets for other teams before, so their deal with Freddy and Kendra wasn’t a surprise. The way I understand it, they were saying that whoever got to a ticket counter first would get tickets for both teams. This seems like a pretty good plan to me, a temporary sort of alliance that helps both teams. I’m also not surprised that Bolo and Lori didn’t appreciate being behind somebody who was buying up tickets for two teams on what appeared to be the only flight they could catch. At any rate, Hayden got herself between the guys before anything could escalate, and while her steroids line to Bolo was pretty bitchy, after everyone calmed down there were apologies all around, so I’m not going to blame anybody for being particularly awful.

Their waving goodbye from the train in Berlin to Lori and Bolo was pleasantly smart-assed. I think I’d have done the same thing. I’m also pretty sure that had I been on the beer detour I’d have tried at least a swallow or so of the beer as Aaron did; I’m not a fan of beer, but given the chance to try the German stuff, I’d have had to. I’d also have loved to see what sort of perfectly-innocent-in-context stuff they’d have said had they taken the sausage option, but we got plenty of that from other teams.

A side note — Aaron obviously knows no German whatsoever, as he completely and totally butchered the name of the church where the broken chain sculpture was. I greatly enjoyed their discussion with one cab driver about how to get to their next destination; lacking an address, Aaron tells her “We have to go on faith in God.” “I will do that,” she answered. Yeah, I think I know how she feels. Crazy Americans.

I’ve been trying to avoid the subject of Hayden’s boobs, but I must say again I wish she’d either wear a bra or at least wear slightly less low-cut tops. She dang near bounces out of those shirts an awful lot. Yet it has been noticed online that the more she displays, the higher they finish. This week it didn’t work very well, apparently, since they came in third. But Hayden, please, it looks like it’s got to hurt when you run. I know you’re not hugely endowed, but ouch nonetheless.

I expect I’ll be writing about these two for quite some time to come.
–– by Whiterabbit



Adam & Rebecca

Adam and Rebecca start in 6th place at some ungodly hour of the morning (2:22 to be exact) and are off to wait for a few hours in front of the most famous slave house in Dakar. There has been quite a bit of controversy about a comment Rebecca made, about how she is not surprised "so many escaped this place." Now, I have to say, I think she meant the slave house itself. I am sure there are interpretive plaques in there (in fact, you see one as the racers are entering) and I'm sure it said something about how the slaves would try to escape before being packed like sardines onto boats so starve or die of scurvy on their way to the New World. Just because they didn't survive their escape, doesn't mean they didn't escape slavery. Anyhow - that is my opinion. They're a little bit dumb, sure, but they're not ignorant.
Dude - you're all going to the same place! Some of you will end up together!
They get their tickets to Berlin from a travel agent, and are on the same flight to Berlin as everyone else. Rebecca shows her snarky side when they get here (making me like her even more) and disses Jonathan when he complains that they're "following" him. Dude - you're all going to the same place! Some of you will end up together! She claims they're following him because he's "so smart." Whatever, her tone of voice indicates that she thinks he's a giant dick, as do I. If there ever were a time to follow Jonathan, it's at the Berlin Wall, but they don't, so they end up losing a few places before finding the next clue. Adam, in the cab on the way: "Fahrvergnugen!" Hee.

Adam and Rebecca have their best moment of the race so far during the Brat portion of the detour, at a sausage factory. They just can't resist making all sorts of sausage jokes and, I have to say, I wouldn't have been able to, either. They're cute, and funny, but I can't figure out why they were so slow. Maybe they were laughing too hard? Fortunately, they take a cab to Teufelsberg (oh, and can I say that the mangled German was my second favourite part of the race? Once again: Fahrvergnugen!

The Roadblock this week was a little anti-climactic. Not especially difficult and it only took 35 seconds. Rebecca did the roadblock this week (her first), and the main thing I learned was that Rebecca has a great ass. It's true! Off to the pit stop, where they get to drive themselves! More Fahrvergnugen! Welcome, Adam and Rebecca, you are the 6th team to arrive. And you only have two more weeks before coming in 6th all the time will get you eliminated.

Next week: I hope Rebecca does that roadblock, because Adam will lose his voice screaming for Mommy.
–– by Devajd




Don & Mary Jean
Don, saying “Thank you for having us,” in juxtaposition with the embarrassing abomination of the second place team, made their elimination all the more painful.
I suppose it was inevitable. I thought it would happen a few legs ago. But just the same, I was saddened and deflated when Phil said those words no team wants to hear; “you’ve both been eliminated.” And what graciousness they showed! Don, saying “Thank you for having us,” in juxtaposition with the embarrassing abomination of the second place team, made their elimination all the more painful.

During this leg, they had some nice moments. At the slave house, Don and MJ were visibly moved when standing in the doorway. Don was even weeping a bit when they exited.

Because they refused to ask the locals, they asked the other teams for a mercy contribution after having had to give up all their money the previous leg. Thankfully, they were always sweet to the other teams, and no one wants to refuse their grandparents.

There was much bunching again, but their downfall was being unable to find the clue box at the church, so they circled and circled and wasted much time until Don spotted it. The cutest moment came in a post-leg interview (in which they were both too cleaned up and fresh looking to still be in the race). They had done the sausage detour and MJ said “Seven inches? Seven inches? And I thought, Oh my God! Seven inches is really big!” They both had such cute, amused smiles on their faces.

I wish their strategy of being the “smart ones” had worked out better. But I think these are two people who will get more out of their short experience than many teams that go the whole way.
–– by Emjaytee



Freddy & Kendra

Well, looking at racing skills, they did quite well this week. They got from Africa to Germany with a minimum of trouble, completed the Detour and Roadblock swiftly, and came in first, narrowly beating the humongous assmunch known as Jonathan and winning a cruise. For those things, I'm happy for them. What I'm not so happy about is the fact that Kendra drops some of the lamest dialogue snippets in TAR history in this episode. As many people have noted, it's a good thing for her that Jonathan is in this race, acting as a black hole of suckiness. Because if he wasn't, Kendra would seem even worse.
Okay, Kendra? You just don't use the word "breeding" when you're referring to human beings. You just don't.
It was evident last week that Kendra wasn't thrilled with Africa when she found out it's not all zebras and gazelles and Youssou N'Dour songs, but this week she lets her displeasure really show with this extremely contemptuous quote: "This city is wretched and disgusting. And they just keep breeding and breeding. And this poverty. I can't take it." Okay, Kendra? You just don't use the word "breeding" when you're referring to human beings. You just don't. Unless you're joking. Because if you do, you sound like a condescending asshole.

Now don't get me wrong. I honestly don't think that Kendra is an asshole, and I certainly don't think she's racist (if she were, she wouldn't have been so initially excited about going to Africa at all). But I do think she's spoiled, snobby, and monumentally naive about life in any place that doesn't resemble America, and because of that, she lets snobby, naive, assholish things slip out sometimes. I wish she would just enjoy the fact that she's in a place she probably never would have gotten to go in her life, rather than judging the people for not matching Kendra's Concept of Ideal Living.

So anyway, they squeeze into first place, and though I'm glad they beat Jonathan, I couldn't get too happy, because that just gave Jonathan a reason to be an even bigger asshole to Victoria.

Freddy and Kendra: I'm still trying to like you guys. Good luck. Just don't have a hand in getting Kris and Jon or Lori and Bolo eliminated.
–– by Jason (Ronin47)



Gus & Hera

They depart in seventh place at 2:45 a.m. and catch up with everybody waiting to go into the Slave House. Gus has a very emotional experience there. After they lay their rose, he pauses, chokes up and says “Wait a minute. I can’t….” He and Hera hug as he cries. As he explains in a voiceover, he didn’t cry at his mother’s funeral, or his father’s. “But when I went through those doors, I saw myself. I started realizing that this is a connection with a part of yourself that you never really been fully able to connect with.” For such a stoic guy, I imagine this must have been something that shook him to his foundation. He says also “I hope the others realize the magnitude of the human experience that is incorporated in this race that we run.” Wow. Excellently put. That pretty much sums up why this show has such an effect on those of us who love it.
I love teams who can run the race, but have a depth of appreciation that transcends the actual tasks.
Gus is quite the philosopher this episode. When they get to the Berlin Wall, Gus says “We went from the depths of human degradation in Africa to the same thing in Europe. We as humans... we’re capable of so much horror.” I love teams who can run the race, but have a depth of appreciation that transcends the actual tasks.

They choose the beer detour and the fun begins. In their effort to find their coasters, Gus manages to drink a good share of beer, all along being scolded by Hera. Suddenly the guy who seemed to be bossy and unyielding to his daughter was acting like a misbehaving child. It was a funny and enjoyable turnaround. He attempts one last chug pretending to get his pack but Hera will have none of it. Go Gus! Chug that baby! But no, he obeys Hera and leaves the place still thirsty.

After the roadblock, in which Hera rides in the go cart, Gus offers Kris and Jon a deal. They’ve hired a taxi to follow to the pit stop and Gus offers to pay for half the taxi if they let them follow, too. They accept and arrive at the mat together and let Kris/Jon check in before them. They check in in fifth place.
–– by Emjaytee




Ass-a-thon & Victoria

Well, I’ve jumped on the train and refuse to type out this blowhard’s real name anymore. Ass-a-thon will do for now, and even that’s showing too much respect. This is a race, this isn’t about compassion??? Sorry, Asswad. I don’t care what kind of game it is, nor what’s at stake. The one person you should be showing compassion towards is your wife.
So it seems to me that Asstastic is only happy when he knows he’s in front and no other teams are around.
Ass-a-thon and Victoria started out the leg in second place and in seemingly good spirits. They led nearly the whole way from Dakar to Berlin, and I was all set to give them credit for a leg well-run and, for the most part, well-behaved. Assholio did get unnecessarily freaked out when he accused Adam and Rebecca of following them. Yeah…it’s not really following if you’re going the same way. Granted, Adam and Rebecca were following them on purpose, but since it was Ass-a-thon, it didn’t annoy me at all. Once they shook free of their tailgaters, they once again seemed to regain their composure. They were light and happy at the brat-making detour (until another team arrived), and supportive at the racecar roadblock (again, until another team arrived). So it seems to me that Asstastic is only happy when he knows he’s in front and no other teams are around. Okay, it’s fine for him to be happy that he’s in front, but it’s ridiculously stupid to turn into a completely rage-fueled monster when another team arrives, especially when they’ve already completed the damn task!

None of that, however, compares to actually pushing Victoria. Which he did. Hard. I don’t care if it was technically her backpack. Since she was wearing it at the time, then he pushed her. And that? Unacceptable. For that? I hope Bolo breaks Ass-a-thon in half over his knee and throws him to the side of the road. Then, with due respect to Sue Hawk, I want the vultures to come for him, and do with him what they will. I have no respect for this…person, and it pains me to see them racing so well. Is second place good enough? No. No place on Earth is good enough for this asshole.
–– by Giuseppe




Kris & Jon

Kris and Jon again ran a consistent leg, and finished in the middle of the pack. On Gorée, they were the first team to depart shortly after midnight, and not surprisingly lost their lead to bunching. In the morning, they were the first to pay tribute at the Slave House, where Kris said a quiet prayer at the Door. At the ferry landing, Jon was the first to offer to share money with Don and Mary Jean. I’m wondering how they decided to share $8 — perhaps because it was 10% of the total they’d received? Once back on the mainland, Kris and Jon sought out and bought tickets at the main Air France office before travelling to the airport. I was pleased to see this team continuing to treat the local people with respect, as Jon thanked their cab driver as “my friend,” wishing him a good day.
In Berlin, Kris and Jon were the second team out of the airport, and after asking several people for directions, they found the correct train (hopefully they learned their lesson about putting too much stock in one comment!)
In Berlin, Kris and Jon were the second team out of the airport, and after asking several people for directions, they found the correct train (hopefully they learned their lesson about putting too much stock in one comment!). Jon thought the Berlin Wall was cool, and they were the second to find the clue box at the Wall and again at the broken chain statue. I’m curious if the clue read “busted chain,” since so many of the teams referred to it as such. Kris chose the Beers Detour, and the couple took the S-bahn to the Beer garden on the advice of some locals. They fell behind slightly with this choice, being the seventh to arrive at a Detour. They had however chosen the faster option and did well at the task, and were the fourth team to finish.

Kris and Jon caught up with other teams at the Roadblock, so I don’t think their earlier choice to take the train instead of a cab was detrimental; in fact, they likely saved some of their limited cash. Jon took the Roadblock, racing against Hera and winning by a fraction of a second. These two teams chose to split the cost of following a cab back into the city, where Kris and Jon arrived on the Amazing Bathmat in fourth place. This episode started off with a voiceover from Kris explaining their Race strategy. She explained that their plan was not to make alliances, and this has been the case in the Race so far. They seem to get along well with the other teams and will work with others when bunched together, but don’t go out of their way to seek out partnerships or conflicts. Kris also explained that she and Jon “respect … and believe in each other so much,” which is true from what we’ve seen so far, and is certainly refreshing to see as this Race progresses.
–– by Kanuck



Lori & Bolo

Once again, navigational difficulties prove a problem for Lori & Bolo. That and bickering. They begin bickering as soon as they leave the Pit Stop; Bolo has misplaced his headlamp, and Lori starts picking on him for it. I have to say that she gets mighty cranky when she's tired, whereas Bolo really seems to stay calm most of the time. (Not always, though, as we see a few minutes later.) They start off in third place, but it's a slow downhill slide for the whole episode.
He's also taller than 5'5", but he doesn't seem to regard being called short as that big an insult.
On leaving Senegal, they end up at the Air France ticket counter behind Hayden & Aaron and end up bickering with the other team. Bolo takes exception to Hayden trying to buy tickets for Freddy & Kendra since he and Lori are next in line -- which, had there not been enough seats on the flight, could have caused them serious problems, so I do understand his protests. Hayden accuses Bolo of being "5'5" and on steroids," and Bolo seems rather hurt as he defends himself -- "I'm not on steroids!" (He's also taller than 5'5", but he doesn't seem to regard being called short as that big an insult.) Aaron steps in and it looks like the boys are going to have a physical battle, but Hayden intervenes, and Bolo backs down after Hayden decides Freddy & Kendra can buy their own tickets. Bolo's temper seems to flare up quickly but die down just as rapidly, and eventually they're all friends again. He makes his "I'm not on steroids!" comment again and they all laugh over it.

In Berlin, they choose the Brats Detour, and other than the normal bickering that seems to be their chronic modus operandi, their performance was noteworthy primarily for Bolo sampling the merchandise. While we've been assured that trichinosis has been eradicated in Germany, still, raw pork? Eww. Just eww. Especially the way the camera lingered on a strand of raw pork caught on his lip. Bleaccch.

And then here come their navigational problems again. For no known reason, they take the subway to the Roadblock -- and the wrong subway line at that -- and then end up walking and walking and walking to find it, rather than taking a cab. So by the time they finally find Phil at the mat, they've walked about ten miles (according to Lori) and they're in seventh place. I don't know how far ahead of Don & Mary Jean in terms of time they finished, but it was once again worrisome. They need to start working together more, managing their money better, and being smarter about picking modes of transportation or they're going to find themselves on a short trip to Sequesterville in the near future.
–– by Mama Tiger




Phil

This week, along with his role as our guide through the race, Phil also takes a turn as a history teacher, teaching us about the horrors of slavery and war. After a brief stay in Africa, Phil and the racers are back in Europe. They are in Berlin, Germany, land of beer and bratwurst. Speaking of which, during this leg, Phil has a detour (beer vs brats) and a roadblock (soap box derby) to tell us about.
Good news — the staff member who had the thesaurus finally turned up...
Good news — the staff member who had the thesaurus finally turned up and Phil is able to award the first place team at the pit stop, Freddie and Kendra, a trip to exotic Mexico. After welcoming, well, after checking in the rest of the teams, Phil has to eliminate the team that came in last -- Don and Mary Jean. And, yes, Phil had an unpleasant time at the pit stop but I refuse to sully the Phil report with any mention of that team.
–– by M. Darcy