Bowling Moms Rule!
Linda and Karen laugh their way through a conversation about yields, teamwork, nerves, family, The Amazing Race 6 and the new "Bowling Mom Rule."
How's the weather there? Did you all get rained-out or flooded?
How's the weather there? Did you all get rained-out or flooded?
Oh, okay. Because I know a lot of people were worried.
Karen: Yeah. Well, thank you.
Anyway, so a little background first. Have you guys been fans of The Amazing Race or watched it before the season you were on?
Linda: The reason that we applied was because I'm the big fan. I had watched every episode. I've never missed one, you know. I love The Amazing Race. And I talked Karen into watching season 4 because I said, "We're going to do this." She'd never even watched it till then.
Really. From watching in the past and watching season 4, what was the one thing that you learned about the show that kind of made a strategy for you to bring in that you knew you had to do?
Linda: Well, you know what? Because I'd watched the show -- you know, you sit on the couch and you go, oh, I can do that. Well, the first episode I looked at Karen and I was, oh, my gosh, Karen, this is so much harder than I ever thought. And each episode that we would be on The Amazing Race, we would learn something. Like the first episode, we took a bus instead of a taxi to get to the meat, and Charla and Mirna beat us there. And so we looked at each other and we said, we're never taking a bus. That's it. I don't care what happens, we're not taking a bus. So Karen and I learned each episode what not to do and what to do. And, you know, you exchange your money right away when you get to a country, things like that.
Right. Yeah. I think everyone that I talk to, they always say it's just so much different when you're actually doing the Race.
Linda: Yeah. It's so much harder. You just aren't -- you don't take in the exhaustion factor until you're actually doing it. You know, your body's like, oh, my gosh, I've been up for 15 hours and I'm going now.
Karen: I think for me, because I'm just a really stressful person to begin with, I don't think I ate or I slept for the first three or four days.
Karen: I didn't. I didn't eat or I didn't sleep because I was just so stressed. And that was the hardest part for me.
Right. Because it seems like it's hard to get into any kind of rhythm for sleep and eating because of the bizarre schedule you've got going on.
Linda: Well, you know what? That didn't really bother me as much because I just never really set my watch to whatever time we were in. I figured, well, I'm off anyway. We changed dates. We moved -- you know, one day you're in one country, the next, you're in another country. So I never even looked at the time. So if we got up at 3:00 in the morning, well, that could have been 12:00 noon at home. So it didn't matter.
Right. So what did you do to prepare for the Race, to get yourselves ready for it?
Karen: Well, Linda and I knew that we were going to be at a disadvantage a little bit with our physical fitness. So as soon as we applied for the show, Linda and I started walking. We started hiking. We went to the gym. We did the rowing machine. We climbed the rock wall at the gym. And my husband, he taught us how to rappel. We rode our bikes. We did everything that we could think of to prepare ourselves for the show.
Yeah. Did that come in handy or did you still feel completely --
Karen: Oh, no, no. You know what? If we hadn't walked -- we even commented on that to ourselves in the Pit Stop after the first episode, saying, “thank God we had walked.” We have a hill in Palmdale, one hill, and we walked up it. It's probably five miles by the time we walked up and then all the way down. We did this like at least three times a week. And had we not done that, we would have been like the Brothers, you know, who totally -- I think it was totally their fitness that got them.
Right. That's one of the reasons why I will never do the Race. But anyway --
Karen: It's hard.
Yeah. I mean, I just can't imagine. Because your adrenaline just must be going so hard that your brain kind of malfunctions the whole time.
Karen: It does. It does. That's the thing. Your adrenaline is going so fast. It's crazy.
And like when you're standing on that start line and Phil says, "Go!", does your brain just go right when he says that?
Linda: Well, I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you. But you know what? You do it like six times before you actually go because they film it and film it and film it and film it. So by the time they actually say “go,” you are like gone. You were already gone six times ago, you know? You're like, “oh, my gosh, we're going.” You know, it's just to get the different camera angles they do that.
Right. Yeah. I think everyone kind of knows that.
Linda: Oh, good.
No. Because, I mean, you can see because they have different close-ups of everyone.
Linda: Right. Right.
And Phil saying everything from different angles and everything. So I think that's kind of -- I think people kind of assume that.
Linda: Yeah. You're definitely ready to go. I think that's why Jim fell. I mean, you're just ready to go. And they were chomping at the bit.
How bad -- I mean, Jim's injury looked pretty bad. Did you all see it that first day?
Linda: Oh, yes. It was horrible. You could see the bone. It was pretty deep. And then he had to jump in the pool the first episode, so that really -- you know, for him, he's going, "I'm not supposed to get it wet."
Yeah. I think it was -- was it Karen who looked a little nervous about that zip line?
Karen: No. I was the one who was first.
Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Karen: Yeah. And I just -- you know what? I figured that I was never -- you know, the show really took care of our safety. So I didn't even bat an eye. I thought, you know, they wouldn't put me in a position where I would get hurt. So I just went.
Linda: That's why Karen went first.
Oh, that's right. I'm sorry. It's been so long since I've seen the episode. Now I remember. Karen got there first and kind of bumped her head a little bit.
Karen: Oh, yeah. Right.
So how did your family and your kids react to you going on the show, first to applying and then actually, you know, going off and going?
Linda: Well, you know what? When we first applied, we really didn't tell them because, you know, they told you, don't tell anyone you're even applying, you know, or even got called back. So we never told them that we had made it until we actually made it. So once we did, you know, I don't think they really realized that you're not allowed to talk to your family for five weeks. So it was tough on them. My daughter left for Spain -- for college -- she went abroad for a semester. And she had a hard time because I wasn't there to see her off. And I had a hard time on the Race because I knew what day she was leaving. I'm going, she's leaving!
Karen: In fact, any time we went for our interviews, you know, at the end of each leg of the Race, if they asked us about our family, Linda says, "You know what? I'm trying to concentrate on the Race. I can't think about my family because it upsets me too much. Please don't ask me about my family." And when they did ask me about my family, I started crying. It was terrible because, you know, we couldn't talk to them. We're used to -- you know, for 20 years. We've had our kids and we talk to them every day. And it was hard on my kids, too.
Yeah. So was there anything like, "Oh, Mom, this is embarrassing," or any kind of --
Linda: You know what? I thought that -- my youngest daughter is a sophomore in high school. And I thought, halfway on the Race, I'm looking at Karen, going, "You know, we might have to change high schools." But no. You know what? If anything, my kids and my husband were so proud of us. You know, the things we did. And it didn't make any difference what we looked like, you know, silly or not. They were proud of us.
That's great. I remember -- I loved when you did the sledging and afterwards you're going, "Oh, your kids are going to be so proud!" That was a great moment.
Linda: And they were. That was hard. That was scarier than it looked.
I can imagine because it's like -- the current looked so strong.
Linda: Well, and they take out that -- you know how Karen said the first episode, oh, you know, they're taking care of us? Well, you're in the middle of a river. They can't really take care of you there. Anything could have happened.
Yeah. You're not tethered to anything there.
You've got no one there right with you.
Linda: Right. That was a little scary.
Karen: On this particular task, Linda went first. And when she went over the waterfall, I can't see the waterfall. I can't see the bottom of the waterfall. All I could see is the safety boat coming after her. Because she lost her sledge and she got caught under all the turbulence. And it took her quite a while to get up because she had sprained her ankle in Egypt, and so she's kicking and kicking and trying to come up. And it really, really aggravated her ankle and really hurt her ankle. And so that's all I could see, is the safety boat coming after her. And I'm going, oh, my God. I've got to do this now! Holy moly! That was by far the scariest thing that we had to do.
So you mentioned the ankle injury that Linda had. How bad was that? How did it affect you?
Linda: You know what? When we got back to the hotel and I took my shoe off, I mean, it was probably three times as big as my other ankle. And it was like 2:00 in the morning so you couldn't get a doctor or a medic. And they had given -- they gave us a first aid kit when we left for the Race, so I was so afraid that they would say I couldn't race any more, that I just wrapped it. And as long as I was moving, it was okay. It was when I didn't move it started to stiffen up. And then like three episodes into the Race, somebody from production noticed it. And then they got all panicky. I'm like, my God, it's been, you know, four days and now you notice it? And by then it was better but still hurt.
Because I really didn't notice you like limping that much or anything afterwards.
Linda: I didn't. I was really -- it was okay as long as I moved. Just when I stiffened up -- and it was funny. It was like walking wasn't any problem, but swimming, the flipping motion with my ankle, that really bothered me.
So that leg in Egypt, it looked like you all were pretty far behind the Twins even though the editors were trying to convince us that you weren't.
Linda: Oh, we were so far behind. You know, when we got to the mat, Karen looked at Phil, and when he said it was a non-elimination, she was like, "Oh, I want to go home!" And they didn't show it, because we were so exhausted. We hadn't eaten for probably, I'm going to say, 24 hours. We had been walking around the Pyramids for six hours. The taxicab driver had sent us in the wrong direction. And we just kept going that way and we couldn't find it.
Karen: We had also -- when we got there, it was sort of dusk. You know, the sun was starting to go down. And when the sun went down, they had production lights on the Pyramids, you know, to light up the clue box and all that stuff. But then they started a laser show for, you know, real tourists, and they had to turn all the production lights off. Linda and I were in the pitch black dark up at the Pyramids. And these nomads would come out of nowhere, and the next thing you know, they're walking right next to us.
Linda: Yeah. That was kind of scary.
Karen: It was really scary.
Linda: Yeah. That wasn't our favorite leg of the Race.
Karen: No. And then, you know, any time the laser lights came on, they said, well, you can't look at them. You can't go that way. You have to stop. So I think we were up there for like five hours in the dark.
Linda: And the reason that we couldn't find the clue box was we had got there after it closed, the Pyramids had closed, the main entrance. So they sent us to a side entrance and told us to find the yellow rocks.
Karen: And we couldn't find them.
Linda: And you couldn't find them because we came in the wrong way. So it was just a mess all the way around.
Karen: Yeah. Actually, I think the Brothers helped us out a little bit, sending us in the right direction to find the first clue.
Linda: But by then, we had been walking for three hours.
I just can't imagine how frustrating --
Karen: Oh, it was horrible.
Linda: I had nightmares when I got back of not being able to find the clue box, just walking and walking and walking.
Karen: Well, then even after we did find the clue box and I went down in the Osiris Shaft and I came up with the map and the artifacts. We put the clue on the map -- or, no, we put the clue together off the map. And Linda goes, "Karen, where's that piece right there?" And I go, "Oh, I think I lost it."
Karen: Which was the clue. So I said, "Oh, Linda, I think I lost it." So we took so long finding that out.
So you didn't even realize it was --
Karen: No, no. We didn't even realize that you had to put the piece, the artifact, together on top of the map and the missing piece pointed to the clue.
I really think the teams that got there around the same time had an advantage in that.
Linda: Well, a lot of them didn't even have to figure it out. They just went after wherever the other person went.
Well, and plus, too, they could see it was the same piece missing from all of them, and I think that helped.
Karen: And they could -- you know, also because it's light, you can sort of see, you know, some of the stuff that's going on, where the other teams are going and where they came from. And we didn't have that. Everybody was leaving as we were coming in.
So was that your lowest point on the Race?
Linda: Oh, absolutely.
And you guys were the first people that got mugged by Phil.
Linda: Yeah, that took all our money.
Linda: You know what? We really -- what they didn't show was when we had left the Pit Stop, before we even got to the mat, we had decided we were going to get it from the tourists. But we ran into a tourist bus that happened to be from America. So we walked on the bus and I told them, you know, my sob story. And by the time I left the bus, we had more money than anybody who started the Race. So they were so nice. The tourists were like fantastic.
Karen: Yeah. They were sitting right outside of our hotel as we left the Pit Stop. So we actually hadn't gotten back to the mat to start the next leg, and we had all the money that we needed. And Linda knew I was out of it. I was so upset. And Linda's like, "Go on, Karen. I'll get all the money we need." And she did. It just happened that that tour bus was filled with Americans. One guy gave her a $20 dollar bill, 20 U.S. dollars, which was, I think, more than all the other teams got to start the next leg.
Linda: Yeah. So then we had all these oranges and apples that we had stolen from the buffet. So we're like, all right. Let's just go see if I can make extra money. So that's the footage they actually showed on TV. Selling oranges and apples.
So I guess a lot of people had some questions about whether you were allowed to start your money gathering before you got to the mat. But apparently --
Karen: The rules?
Karen: Well, the rules on the Race are that while you're in the Pit Stop, you're only allowed to ask other teams. So at least when we ran the Race, that was the rule. They may have changed them by now. But while we were in the Pit Stop, the only way you could make your money was to ask other teams. Well, we came in so late there was no way we were going to wake them up, you know?
Karen: They were probably getting up in a couple hours to start the next leg of the Race because it was only a 12-hour Pit Stop. So we didn't even ask the other teams, you know. We just waited till the next morning. We got up. We raided the buffet. We had -- what did we -- we ended up with a couple beers we were going to try to sell. We had a blanket, you know.
LINDA: We had kept a card from the taxicab from the previous day. We had actually called -- they didn't show that, either. We actually called him on the phone and had him waiting for us.
Karen: Well, what happened is we knew Phil was going to take all our money. Either we were going to be eliminated or Phil was going to take all our money. So that last taxi ride in to the mat, we gave that taxi driver all of our U.S. dollars.
Oh, I see.
Karen: For like a -- it was like a one-mile drive. We gave him like $30.
Linda: He's still talking about it.
Even though he pointed you in the wrong direction?
Linda: Yeah, exactly. He's like, Americans! Crazy Americans!
Karen: Yeah. So he was really happy when we called him the next morning, thinking, oh, he's going to get all this money from us again. And he was really happy to come pick us up again.
Well, that's really smart, though. Because if you know one way or the other --
Linda: Yeah. I think that's the stress factor, is you're always thinking. Even when you're in the Pit Stop, you have no chance -- I mean, you're in a foreign country. You don't know where you are and you don't know where you're going. But you're trying to guess.
Yeah. I've always thought -- you know, everyone says, oh, but they can rest at the Pit Stop. I'm like, but how do you turn your brain off?
Linda: Yeah. It's hard. That's the hardest part.
Karen: Well, usually you're so exhausted. You know, in a 12-hour Pit Stop, you have to be interviewed, and that takes three or four hours. And you have to eat, and you have to try to do your laundry and, you know, get everything ready for the next leg. And you maybe get four or five hours sleep, if you're lucky, in a 12-hour Pit Stop. It's really not much time at all.
So were you at all nervous when you first started watching the show at how you might come across or how people were going to react to you, or you just didn't care about that?
Linda: No. Well, I was really happy with how we were edited. I think they took off all the fat scenes. You know what I'm saying? They didn't show that angle. I think they made us look pretty good.
Karen: I mean, that's how Linda and I are. Linda is the most upbeat, positive, motivating person I know. And that's the reason I ran the Race with her.
Linda: I love you, Karen!
Karen: You know, we bowl competitively together. So a lot of our relationship is based on competition. And she knows what pushes my buttons, what to do to make me do better, what to do, you know, to pump me up. And Linda --
Linda: But I knew she would never give up. I knew it. That's -- you know, Karen's terrific.
Karen: Linda's also a tennis instructor and a tennis coach, and I see now why she does so well. She's just a great motivator, a great person. And that's why she would be the only one I would run the Race with. You know what? I'm watching this next Amazing Race 6, and all they do is fight! And that's such -- you know, it's such negative energy. It's a waste of time.
Linda: You want to have a favorite. I want a favorite, you know?
Not even Kris and Jon?
Karen: I like Kris and Jon.
Linda: You know what? They haven't showed them at all.
Karen: You know what I'm saying?
Linda: So the thing is, I like Kris and Jon the best. But it's like they haven't showed them for you to make a connection with them.
Right. Yeah. I'm really, really tired of the arguing.
Linda: Yeah. It's getting old. At first I thought they were acting. You know what I'm saying?
Karen: That's what they -- they know that that's what's going to get them TV time. That's the impression I got. That's why they're doing it. I'm thinking, God.
I think that's just them.
Linda: I think so. The first episode, I thought they were acting. But then by the -- what is it, episode 7 or something? I'm like, oh, my gosh, they're not acting. This is how these people are.
Yeah. You guys finished higher than any other all-female team.
Linda: I know. We're so proud of ourselves.
What do you think the main challenge is that faces the all-female teams? I mean, is it just the brawn factor or --
Linda: Well, I think with the new Bowling Mom Rule [the new rule that states no team member can perform more than six Roadblocks in the Race] that it will really help even it out a little more. You know, after the caviar incident when the women couldn't really do it, they never did another stunt. The men were like, well, they're not going to do anything because we might lose. So now that they have the new rule, I think it will really help, you know, to help make it more even for an all-women's team.
You know, as far as us going the farthest, a lot of it was luck and a lot of it was learning as we went. You know, I think had we made the first taxi that last episode -- I mean, the first airplane, that Karen would have gone against Chip and it might have been a different story. You know, she would have had enough time to get up there and we would have been racing for the million.
I think any placement of any team, it's always a good percent luck.
Linda: Oh, yeah.
I mean, you know, you've got to have skill, but it's also just so much luck.
Linda: Well, especially a lot of the stunts that they do -- you know, finding the scarab in the sand, you know, I could have easily still been there when the Brothers came by. You know? It just takes forever. And that was luck.
Right. I think one of the things that really seemed to help you guys was that you really worked well together. Was that part of maybe you're your coaching, or just teamwork in the past that you've done, or --
Linda: You know what I think? For example, when we put the car together, you know, a lot of the teams had the guy putting the car and the girl's handing him the parts. I mean, Karen's on one side of that car. I'm on the other. You know, I'm saying, "I'm doing this. You do that." You know, we both worked together. And we really do work well together.
Yeah. I could tell right from the first episode because they kept cutting from shots of everyone carrying that big slab of meat. It was always the guy carrying and the girl kvetching. And then they cut to the shot of you two, and you're both carrying it. I mean, I really think your teamwork stood out right from the beginning.
Linda: Well, I really think being a mother helps, too. I mean, we were well-prepared. Like we would carry baggies with us and put food in them from the Pit Stop. That was our food for the week. That's what a mother would do.
Karen: And I had packed laundry soap, so we had laundry soap for doing our laundry in the sink. You know, like I said, I think a lot of it goes back to Linda and I competing together in our bowling environment. You know, we're both really competitive, and we're both strategic. You know, we're smart. And we pretty much agreed on everything. When it came to like a Roadblock, it was -- you know, we had no disagreements. I think even we chose the Detours, we really didn't have a disagreement. We both agreed.
Yeah. It seems like you know each other's strengths and weaknesses really well.
Karen: That's it.
One of the things, when I talked to Chip and Kim and asked if they knew that you had lost your Yield marker, he had said that Linda had told them "but, you know, she's so mischievous."
Linda: That's true. Well, I had told them in one episode that we -- when we had stayed in Russia, they all slept in the airport and were miserable. So when we got there, we had taken the later flight and we met them all at the airport. And we looked so refreshed because we really did sleep well. But we got there and I said, "Oh, yes, we slept in canopy beds." So after that, no one believed anything I said. So I had them all psyched out.
Karen: We really didn't want them to know that we had lost our Yield, you know, because that's not a good thing, you know?
Right. Because it takes one of your strategic points away.
Karen: Exactly. So we really didn't want to tell anyone.
So what did you think of the Yield?
Linda: You know, at the time, it's hard because you don't know -- if they got rid of the non-elimination legs, then you would be not afraid to use the Yield. Because if you put someone behind and it's a non-elimination, you know, they're out to get you the next leg. And then there's a Yield every single leg.
Karen: Well, and I think most teams were waiting until the end of the Race, you know, to use their Yield.
Right, because you don't want to use it too early because…
Linda: …then they'll get you and you don't want to get out because of getting someone --
Karen: Well, plus you only have one. I guess if early on in the Race you knew you were going to -- see, the problem is, when you're racing, you never know where you are in regards to the other teams. You know, so many times Linda and I thought we were in last, and we were in second. Because you're racing -- the whole Race, you never see another team. I mean, one example was in New Zealand. We saw everybody leave the airport. We knew we were in last place. And we saw everybody. And we're still waiting in line at Customs. Right? And so we go along and we do our -- you know, our Zorbing and our sledging, and we know we're in last because we never saw another team. And we were the last ones to leave the airport. And we were in second.
Linda: And so the thing she's saying with the Yield is you can't Yield someone that's ahead of you, only someone behind you.
Karen: Right. So that was another reason you didn't use the Yield. Maybe if they change it to unlimited Yields.
Yeah. Even when you got to the Yield mat, there wasn't any kind of indication of where you were?
Karen: None. None. They want that purposely.
Wow. Okay. I think this season they've cut it back to just on a few legs or something.
Linda: Well, I think so. Either that or they're not showing it.
I think they said at the beginning there are two or three a Race or something.
Linda: Okay. Good. I wasn't sure.
So we've already talked about your lowest point in the Race. What was your highest point? What was the point that you take away just the most joy or the most pride in?
Linda: I really think I take pride in the New Zealand leg. We were driving. And Karen and I always did great with maps and driving, where the other teams did not. So when we thought we were in last and we finished second, it was like -- to me, I'm like, we are a good racing team. We had such bad taxi luck.
Linda: We really did. And it was like, gosh, if they made the Race a real race where you used your smarts instead of relying on the luck of a taxi, you know, that would be a big deal. So I would say that to me was my highest. What's yours?
Karen: Just finishing the Race. You know, we did real well and I'm really pleased with that.
Linda: Making each leg.
Karen: I would say finishing fourth in the Race. I was impressed. I really didn't think we'd make it that far. Linda thought -- the whole time, she thought we were going to win it.
Karen: I'm going, holy moly, Linda, I'd just like to finish this leg, okay?
Linda: Well, we would sit in the Pit Stop every evening and go, oh, my gosh, we've made five legs. Oh, my gosh, we've made seven legs. We just were, like, impressed with ourselves.
But do you think that helped you enjoy it more than some of the teams that went in kind of, oh, we expect to win, or that -- I don't know. It just seemed like a lot of teams put a lot of pressure on themselves.
Linda: Yeah. Well, we did, too. I mean, it is a lot of pressure. There's not much you can do about that because you are playing for a million dollars. And I seriously thought I was going to win. I had no question about that. You know, when I go to do anything, I'm going to win it. And that's what I wanted to do. And then, you know, after the first episode, I realized how much harder it was than I actually thought. And then it was like, okay, I just don't want to get out the first leg. So once I made the first episode, life was great.
Okay. So what have you been up to since the Race?
Karen: I think it's the opening of an Indian casino and hotel, and we're going to be going and bowling in a tournament there. And that's in February.
Linda: We're doing a women's expo out here, in fact, in two weeks. So we've basically just been doing a lot of bowling promoting things. And we went in the parade, you know, the Christmas parade.
Karen: We did a grand opening at a mall, the Rancho Cuchamonga Mall, which was a lot of fun.
Were you surprised at the fan reaction to you guys?
Linda: Oh, it's amazing. I can't believe it, you know, still. Like I was washing my car yesterday at the car wash and I'm sitting there. And, you know, people usually come up to me and say, "Do I know you from the PTA?" And I go, "No, I was on The Amazing Race." So it's neat being recognized still.
So when's the foam club opening up?
Linda: Are you kidding? I would love a foam club. I don't know about the insurance, though, in America.
Yeah. I've been trying to figure out ways you can combine foam and bowling, but that just seems dangerous.
Linda: Wouldn't that be fun? Might have more people playing bowling. Right?
Yeah. I don't know, something about big, heavy balls hidden in the foam isn't such a good idea.
Linda: Yeah. Oh, gosh. No.
So I'm supposed to tell you from Dave that, Karen, he's counting on you as his partner during the next Las Vegas premier party against the evil forces of Steve and Linda in the All-TAR Mixed Doubles Bowling Championship of the World.
Karen: Oh, my God. Tell him we're there! We're there!
And do you have any predictions for how many pins that you and Steve will win by?
Karen: Oh, there's no question!
Linda: See, there's our competitiveness!
Karen: You know what's so sad is that Linda always beats me.
Linda: No, I don't. Not always.
Karen: She always beats me.
Linda: That's not true. Don't believe her.
Well, listen. Thank you guys so much.
Linda: Thanks so much for calling.