Racer Reports

Use Your Library Voice

Brian & Greg

In leg two, Brian & Greg departed in fourth place, but thanks to the lovely bunching at the bus station, their time advantage was short-lived. As the show begins, the boys tell us that their strategy is to build friendships with all of the teams. That’s a great strategy, as long as it does not distract from their purpose of the race. Right off the bat, we see that the boys saved a taxi for Lynn and Alex, who then thanked them on camera for it. Then during the 10-hour bus ride through the Andes, the boys bonded with Team Barbie. Brian tells us that the chemistry happened pretty fast; Megan admits that there was definitely “sparks” between her and Brian. This is all fine and good when you aren’t RACING FOR A MILLION DOLLARS.
I have to admit that it looked like the customers were enjoying him, but he seemed to take too long to actually shine the shoes.
The roadblock for this week involved a shoe shine task. Brian took this one for the team, but he was not the fastest to get it done because it appears that he was actively concentrating on entertaining his customers “American-style.” He commented to the camera that the people wanted to be “treated well.” I have to admit that it looked like the customers were enjoying him, but he seemed to take too long to actually shine the shoes. I have to give Brian credit for picking up the Spanish language from seemingly out of nowhere to look like he was comfortably communicating with the crowd. However, his sunglasses really need to go. He obviously has not been told that they look ridiculous on him.

Brian’s shoe shine-lagging put the team on the second plane to Santiago. The boys looked to be well behind the other teams getting off the plane. Once they got a taxi at the airport, there were communication problems with the driver, which led Brian to comment that the driver spoke no English and that it was ridiculous. I think this was just out of frustration. The taxi driver gets them to the funicular and the first thing that Brian asks is “where are the girls?” The first thing that I ask is why Greg is wearing a ski hat that makes him look like a character from “South Park”? The boys remark that they wish they could enjoy the funicular ride when they weren’t so stressed out. I like that they at least seem to be appreciating this experience.

For the detour, the boys decide to schlep the books. I loudly tell them to hurry up since time is running out. The three of us relax for a moment as we watch Team Barbie going up the funicular as the boys are going down. The self-declared Stack-O-Matic Brothers filled their dolly with books and announced that they were going to do two trips to the library. They quickly get back and forth to the library with their final batch of books and are off to the pit stop, but not before we hear one of them tell the other to “use your library voice.” Hee.

The brothers and the Barbie’s race neck-and-neck to the finish line as both taxis pull up at the same time. They were so close that the shot of the brothers in their taxi was clearly shot from the camera in Team Barbie’s. The boys get to Phil with seconds to spare. The brothers say they will miss Team Barbie as the four of them kiss each other goodbye and the girls wish the boys well. Maybe now that those distractions are gone, the boys will remember why they are there and won’t give me another nervous breakdown. With that said, it looks like some bad luck headed their way next week. Go, brothers!
–– by Princesschristie



Debbie & Bianca

Not much to say about my girls this week. They went from the front of the pack to the back of the pack, but managed to once again work efficiently and methodically and wound up finishing in the middle of the pack.
Luckily for them and all the other teams, Lynn and Alex sniffed out the nefarious ploy hatched by Boston Rob to keep the others off the later-leaving direct bus.
Starting out the leg in first place, they quickly lost their lead at the bus station due to the ever-inevitable transportation bunch. Luckily for them and all the other teams, Lynn and Alex sniffed out the nefarious ploy hatched by Boston Rob to keep the others off the later-leaving direct bus. This resulted in the girls confronting B-Rob and accusing him of lying. Okay, since I’ve read about 40 million posts with the general phrasing of “Are these not the same girls who lied to Ron and Kelly about the sandpiles? How dare they!”, I just wanted to say that, again, I don’t think Debbie and Bianca purposely mislead Ron and Kelly to the sandpile of stupid racers. And even if they did, why should the RAAACE philosophy apply to Rob and Amber, but not to Debbie and Bianca? Maybe they pegged Ron and Kelly as a strong team and wanted to keep them as far back as possible. In any case, everybody ends up on the same bus to Arequipa, and Debs and Bianca fall behind as they are trapped at the back of the bus with the group of teams who have NOT bribed the driver to keep the back doors closed. Not batting an eyelash, they work through the shoeshine roadblock slowly, finishing third to last, but in good spirits ending up on the second plane to Santiago. Here’s where they play catch up, as they are the first of the second plane teams to reach the funicular, where they run into a stalled Susan and Patrick. I don’t know if the ensuing cheers and hugs are because they’ve caught up to another team, or if they’re genuinely excited to see their former leg partners. But wasting no time, they leave Susan and Patrick in the dust as they quickly get their clue and catch the funicular back down the mountain.

Choosing the “schlep” option of the detour, the girls make fast work of the books, despite having to make two trips. Upon arrival at the pit stop, they are briefly engaged in a minor footrace with Lynn and Alex, but ultimately arrive after the boyfriends to place sixth for the leg. Nice job, ladies. I’m feeling really good about this team. At the beginning of the episode, Bianca commented that it was important for them to be the first all-female team to win The Amazing Race, and while that may not happen, they certainly have the potential to do it.
–– by Giuseppe



Lynn & Alex

Lynn & Alex had a very up and down week, from fifth place to the very back of the pack and back up to fifth place. (The good part of this, of course, is that we're not seeing mega-bunching this season, so changes in position are possible!) They also showed some serious weaknesses in their racing skills, mostly due to being over-excitable and over-emotional.

This showed in two confrontations this leg. The first was with Rob at the bus station, where Lynn confronted Rob about bribing the guard not to talk to the other teams. If he'd kept his mouth shut, he could have joined the three teams already on the express bus; but by not thinking it through, they cost themselves a possible advantage over six other teams.
Needless to say, they ended up having to buy another fish at a different market entirely and behaved like idiots over a few grams of fish.
The second confrontation was at the fish market, where they went back and got angry right off the bat, accused the fishmonger of having a "rigged" scale and demanding their money back. Needless to say, they ended up having to buy another fish at a different market entirely and behaved like idiots over a few grams of fish. They also called the locals "monkeys" and "bitches" -- warning! Ugly American territory coming up! -- and cost themselves financially due their actions.

I'm beginning to think these guys will be out in short order if they don't start paying more attention to what they're doing and how they're reacting to situations, and putting less effort into hating Rob & Amber or getting angry with locals (who can make or break you -- it's their country, after all)! Even though they pulled back up to the middle of the pack this leg, they've got to dig their A game out if they want to go much further. If they have an A game.
–– by Mama Tiger



Megan & Heidi
I’m having a hard time coming up with something this week. They are boring. They are eliminated.
I’m having a hard time coming up with something this week. They are boring. They are eliminated. You would think that two pretty blondes who think they have game when they don’t would make for some funny TV. Nope.

They leave the pit stop in next-to-last place, never really make up any time, and bring up the rear, narrowly losing to Brian and Greg, who have a rather heartfelt moment when their new friends go away.

Megan does the shoe shine roadblock and they land on the second flight to Santiago. They choose the market part of the detour and the only notable part of that is that they seem nervous about carrying a fish.

I have to say that I won’t miss the sweat pants that say “PINK” on the ass and of which the waist is rolled down so you can see the thong tattoo. So much wrongness in so little space. And how is that comfortable? It made me wish she had to do something like that bull racing thing that Tian did. You’d have seen more than an ugly tattoo.

Parting words were “ ’I can’t’ never came out of our mouths,” but the way I heard it was, “ ’I can’t never’ came out of our mouths.”
–– by Emjaytee



Meredith & Gretchen

Meredith & Gretchen had another solid leg. They left the Pit Stop in sixth place and ended the leg in seventh. In between, they demonstrated quite respectable racing skills.

Gretchen performed the shoe shine Roadblock, and although they'd been the last team to arrive at the Shoe Shine Union, she completed the task quickly enough that they were able to get onto the first flight to Chile. Once in Chile, they opted for the shopping Detour, concerned about the weight involved in moving 180 books. They were one of two teams to discover the fish they had purchased was slightly under the required weight, but instead of creating an international scene in the market like Lynn & Alex did, they just went back and asked the fishmonger to exchange their fish for another one. See how easy it is, guys?
And while this has nothing to do with her racing abilities, Gretchen's voice is definitely grating, plus she seems to complain a lot.
They did have a couple of problems navigating, most notably finding the Neptune Fountain to locate the Pit Stop (which may have cost them a place in the standings, although probably not by more than a couple of minutes). And while this has nothing to do with her racing abilities, Gretchen's voice is definitely grating, plus she seems to complain a lot. Since her actions don't match her words or tone of voice, however, I'm going to chalk that up at this point to "that's just the way she is," until she proves otherwise. She and Meredith appeared to handle the altitude in Cuzco far better than a lot of the younger teams, too, so physically they're a very strong team.

They may not make it all the way, but they're going to give it a good run for their money, I do believe.
–– by Mama Tiger



Ray & Deanna

Ray and Deana arrived at the first pit stop, Cuzco, Peru, in seventh place. It is all about staying out of last at this point in the race and I have a feeling that this pair will be staying out of last place for a while. At least they will if they continue to race like they did in this leg.
I am going to forgive Ray for his mispronunciations at this point, though, because the bandana is gone! Whoo!
The first clue sends them to “Air-ah-kwip-ah.” I am going to forgive Ray for his mispronunciations at this point, though, because the bandana is gone! Whoo! Okay, I am kind of feeling it now for Ray. The salt-and-pepper buzz cut is a dramatic improvement over the bandana. At any rate, Ray and Deana set off for the bus station. Upon arrival, Rob fills them in on the information about the bus that leaves later but gets to Arequipa first. Apparently, Ray & Deana have teamed up with Romber plus Uchenna & Joyce. I like this alliance for Ray & Deana. Romber is a strong team and will most likely take the fall for any alliance moves that piss off the other teams. Exhibit A: Rob making Debbie nauseous by lying about talking to the security guard. Every team makes it onto the same bus, though, and off to Araquipa we go.

The Alliance gets a head start on the other teams by bribing the bus drive to “forget” to open the doors in the back of the bus. As a result, Ray & Deana get to the Shoe Shine Union and the next clue box in first place. Roadblock! Hey, Ray likes shoes more than Deana and seems to have little trouble completing the task. Although they do finish third or fourth after arriving first. Nothing wrong with slow and steady. Okay there is a little wrong with slow and steady but not so much at this point in the race. For his effort, Ray & Deana make it on the first of the two flights to Santiago, Chile. I didn’t catch it but I’m guessing Ray read the clue as “Chili.”

Sometime during the flight, Ray & Deana have changed clothes. Unfortunately today is a bandana day. Really, they still make camo stuff in funky colors. I know because Ray is sporting a blue-camouflage bandana. Ray & Deana make it up in the funicular and choose the schlep option of the detour. Good choice, and we’re off to the bookstore.

Rob must have left some sort of note because it appears as if Ray and Deana select the same small books that Romber did. They easily load their hand truck with 180 books and head off to the Library of Congress. Somehow on the way Ray runs over Deana’s foot even though she was behind him. Weird. They seem to be a little lost but even this and the whole foot accident don’t seem to cause much friction. I think they communicated well with each other this leg. When Ray was taking too long to figure out the map, Deana told him “I understand that, but this stuff is heavy.” And she said it without an ounce of whining. I’m not particularly fond of whiny racers, should I even bother watching season 3?

Ray and Deana are one of only two teams to schlep their books in one trip allowing them to finish quickly and arrive at the pit stop comfortably in third place. Besides moving up in the order, this team is moving up in my view of them. They seem to have a quiet intensity and a rather pleasant demeanor. I don’t know if they’ll ever inspire any love and devotion from TAR fans but they seem to be very solid racers and so far, so good.
–– by Lochnessa



Rob & Ambah

Amber starts out this episode by stating that Rob is the leader of the team, and she often just stands back and lets him do his thing. Obviously up to this point, that hasn’t been too bad of a strategy for the team. Rob took just about every opportunity that was presented this leg and made the most of it by putting them far enough ahead that no other team had received the clue to the Pit Stop before they had checked in.
Outside of just plain good racing skills, this leg showed the “Return of the Evil,” which has been sorely missed since almost the beginning of the series and the Guidos.
Outside of just plain good racing skills, this leg showed the “Return of the Evil,” which has been sorely missed since almost the beginning of the series and the Guidos. Instead of trying to butter up to people like seemingly every other racer to have run this race, Romber does their own research (shocking in and of itself) and then connives to keep and share it according to their own plans. Rob manages to stick it to the main pack of teams whilst at the same time sticking it to his own group by bribing to have the rear door of the bus not opened but not chipping in himself.

Now some have made mention of not liking these type of tactics, but I have to say I appreciate them. Maybe it’s because I’m always biased toward the team I cover, but I am just glad to see a team doing its own thing and understanding that this is a race. Nothing they have done is enough to really affect the outcome if other teams would just be strong enough to run their own race. But they seem to be more interested in mob mentality and that is allowing Romber to get into their heads. And for a show that many of us fans have long championed as the one where your own abilities determine your fate — that’s just plain silly.

So I heartily welcome the scheming, conspiring, and intrigue that these two are bringing to the table. I love that they are strong racers confident in their obvious strong abilities. I hope they continue to run their own race and make the Return of the Evil a memorable ride for all of us.
–– by MJMarble



Ron & Kelly

This week Ron and Kelly did much better, moving from last place to second place. It was probably a good week for the viewers, too, since there were no mentions of Ron’s being a POW and Kelly being a beauty queen. And, on a personal note, now that Ron and Kelly made it to the third leg, it looks as if the M. Darcy curse is over. This is the first that one of my teams has ever made it past leg 2 (sniff, a moment of silence for Steve/Debra, Allison/Donny, and Avi/Joe. Well, Steve/Debra and Avi/Joe at least).
Without Romber’s help, I’m not sure that they would have done so well this leg.
Well, enough about me and back to Ron and Kelly. Without Romber’s help, I’m not sure that they would have done so well this leg. Ron and Kelly were a part of Rob’s “bribing the Bus Driver alliance,” which got them off the bus first. They were then able to get to the roadblock before most of the other teams. Since Ron was the first to finish the roadblock (his military training paying off), they were on the first plane to Chile. I have to admit, Ron looked very cute during the roadblock. In Chile they decided to do the schlep detour but did the detour in two trips. Even with that, they were the second team to arrive at the pit stop.

While Ron and Kelly didn’t have any major fights, they didn’t seem to be working very well together. Kelly did not seem happy with the decision made during the detour to make two trips, and she complained about it (without doing something about it, like, I don't know, carrying some books herself). It didn’t have a major impact on this leg but it could be indicative of how this team will work together in the future. And, while it didn’t seem to have any impact during TAR 6, it would have made more sense for Kelly do have done a roadblock that didn’t involve strength.
–– by M. Darcy



Susan & Patrick: Slipping Backwards

After a strong second place finish last week, Susan & Patrick are hit with immediate bunching at the start of the next leg when the teams have to take a bus to Arequipa. They go along with Debbie and Bianca in enforcing the "buy tickets as you arrived" rule, but Rob and Amber outsmart them and find a faster bus. Eventually, the rest of the teams figure it out, but it makes a team who says they're "a lot smarter than anybody gives us credit for" look pretty dumb, really.
Next, the teams have to complete an excellent shoe shining roadblock next. One where the order of arrival means nothing, and being friendly and approachable means everything.
On the bus, they are outwitted by Rob and Amber yet again, after Rob bribes the driver to open only the front door on the bus. I guess that is where being openly hostile to the Robfather gets you. Next, the teams have to complete an excellent shoe shining roadblock next. One where the order of arrival means nothing, and being friendly and approachable means everything. Susan and Patrick manage to move up, finishing in the middle of the pack, early enough to make the first flight to Santiago, Chile.

They quickly fall behind the other teams from their flight when their cab gets caught in traffic, and when they find they don't have enough Chilean money to take a funicular ride to their next clue. And again - stupid move. They had at least three layovers on their way to Chile. Surely at one of those airports they could have taken the time to change some money. They end up begging around the ticket station, and scrounge enough pesos to make it up to the clue. By now, teams from the second flight have caught up with them. They show their "smarts" again when they take their time debating detour options by the clue box, instead of racing for the next funicular down. They miss it. Also, I'd like to point out that Patrick isn't dealing with this very well, and it's only the second leg. The race will get much more stressful, and I hope he can handle it.

After facing serious money problems that delayed them by what must have been an hour, they choose a detour option that... involves spending money. Are they thinking at all?! They have trouble finding the restaurant, and then they don't have enough money to buy the fish and have to beg again. One guy gives them a daisy. Heh.

Oh - that sound? My hand slapping my forehead. Worst. Leg. Ever. They've fallen even farther behind some of the teams from the second flight. When they finally reach the pit stop, they are in eighth place. Quite a drop from second. I hope they can move back up the ranks next week.

Despite the poor performance of my team, I really feel this was one of the best-designed legs of The Amazing Race I've seen in a long time. It was fantastic. I hope it stays this good!
–– by Devajd



Uchenna & Joyce

Memo to Joyce: Don’t go into street sales. Your talents obviously lie elsewhere. On the flip side, Uchenna & Joyce both get points for appreciating their surroundings and the countries they are visiting.
Somehow, they managed to make friends with Romber, which was not a bad move. If you stick with the sneaky guy, you’re less likely to be his victim. Usually.
Yes, Uchenna & Joyce were visible this week, and they also moved up in the ranks. They did some yo-yoing, though. Somehow, they managed to make friends with Romber, which was not a bad move. If you stick with the sneaky guy, you’re less likely to be his victim. Usually. Anyway, I don’t see anything from Uchenna or Joyce indicating they’re capable of initiating sneakiness on their own. And when the bus pulled in to Arequippa, they were among the first teams off, arriving fourth at the roadblock.

Joyce didn’t seem comfortable approaching people for this task, and the first word that popped into my head when she was standing on that street corner pleading was “ineffectual.” They fell behind, ending up on the second flight to Santiago, Chile. But that’s where their fortunes changed yet again.

Only three teams made no mistakes in Chile: Romber, Ray & Deanna, and Uchenna & Joyce. Interestingly enough, these were the three teams allied at the bus station at the beginning of the episode. Romber and Ray & Deanna were on the first flight and chose the schlep detour, on which they were the only teams to make one trip. With three teams ahead of them from the first flight, Uchenna & Joyce performed the shop detour flawlessly and passed two of those teams. They got extra grams from the fishmonger with the wonky scale, making them the only shopping team that didn’t have to either beg for money or double back and repeat part of the task. As Uchenna said when they began that task, “we can pass some teams here.” They arrived at the pit stop fourth, much better than last week’s eight place.

I’m starting to see the potential in this team; they’re smart, and I like that they work well together despite both being a tad high-strung. Maybe they’ll stick around for a while.
–– by Daria



Phil

As a change of pace, this week Phil starts the week with a Roadblock (shoeshine) and then moves on to a Detour (shop vs schlep). Since schlepping was an homage to Chile’s history of award winning writers, I’m taking it as a shout-out to my culture reports. After the detour, its already time for the pit stop. Rob and Amber are the first to arrive and win a trip to the Bahamas (along with a plug for Travelocity, which didn’t bother me because I love the gnome. Though, if the gnome shows up as Phil’s pit stop buddy, that will be taking it a bit to far). After the rest of the teams arrive, again it’s a race to the finish between the final two teams, with Brian and Greg winning (after quite a lecture from Phil on how close it was) and Megan and Heidi being eliminated.
–– by M. Darcy