Solo Cindy

The helpful CBS PR person returned our questionnaire for Cindy and Russell with the note that Russell was currently unavailable. So, here is Cindy's take on things. (We see a future for her as a speaker for Gortex.)

What attracted you to the show?
That it was the most exciting game I could think of. Earth being used as a game board. Fast paced! I recognized!
Worst? When I was referred to “dumbass”, as apposed to “my little love kitten”.
What were the worst and best moments of the race (minus elimination)?
Best moment? The zip line, tight rope, and ice climbing at seven thousand feet up in the Italian Alps! Worst? When I was referred to “dumbass”, as apposed to “my little love kitten”.

If you could have raced with a different partner, who would you choose and why?
If I couldn’t find a Super Hero, I’d have to say someone who is simply, pragmatic. Someone who tests the validity of all concepts by their practical results. A Federal agent would of worked well with me, always keeping the bigger picture in mind, and left the negative drama at home.

What else would you do differently, given the opportunity?
Split the small amount of money - on go. I gave away my power the minute I gave all the money over to my partner to hold. Only YOU know, what your body needs to sustain. It’s imperative to maintain your own power, which in this case was money for food, water, and sleep. Also, I suggest keeping your feet dry and warm -- choose Gortex shoes.

You didn't seem to be part of a strong alliance. Was there anything done by other teams that you feel helped you, or hurt you?
The minute my partner chose to ally with a couple of other teams, without my consent and without my needed input, is the moment our weakness was made apparent -- exposing where we could be sabotaged. I can’t get a group of people I’ve known for 15 years to decide on what movie to see, without a huge debate, never mind trusting strategies of others I had just met that are my direct competitors. In my world we have nondisclosures and non-circumvents signed before an idea is even discussed!

At the time you were eliminated, which teams were you close with?
My thoughts on friendships were made clear when I started. I felt we needed to keep things simple and clear. Friendships during the race was cool if we were on a vacation, but we were on a mission…there are no friendlys…. After, After.

What are some things you can tell us about them that didn't make it past the cutting room floor from the first three episodes? Any humorous stories?
Loads!!! Too bad that’s a need to know. I’ll just say, all the people were chosen for their personalities. With this group, there wasn’t enough airtime.

How far behind Steve and Dave were the two of you?
Emotionally and logically, years!!!
Strength? I found the other teams to easy to read. Weakness, clouded judgment on the compatibility of my own team.
You bickered, but sometimes bickering teams do well in the race. Do you think the differences between the two of you affected the way you raced, and if so, how?
I can only speak from my own perception. If our relationship normally had that type of distasteful bickering in the equation, it would not of slowed us down, for it would of reflected a pattern and, therefore, would not be a large distraction. (Like a married couple who’s bickered for 20 years). With us, there was a break in pattern, then a break in trust, exposing weakness -- this will trip you up. I’d met Russell New Years Eve -- starting year 2000. I always thought of us as playful with respectably entertaining debates. I think the difference is in how you handle pressure that affects your judgment and finally your choice. When bickering at the bus station on the bench, I tried to weigh all angles when faced with fun moment. It took all my energy not to explode, when being called a dumbass from a man who wouldn’t listen to reason. If I had said, what I was thinking, it would of made, “dumbass”, look like a marriage proposal. I had to weigh my options. I was taking into consideration that the police station was a hundred feet from our building bickering regarding 'who's who' in the 'dumbass' department. At the same time, I was thinking my explosions would make killer TV -- not to mention how good a right hook to the jaw would feel -- while also thinking about justifying to my business partners the reasoning behind our Jerry Springer moment. I recognized my strength at that moment was choosing to avoid anything that could slow us down. Like say, being charged with disturbing the peace, manslaughter, etc. I swallowed a chunk of pride, simply requested a morsel of respect, and chose to let the fire die down, in hopes to get the focus back on joint strategy. To answer your question, did it affect our performance? Yes.

In your pre-race questionnaire, you were asked to list each other's strengths and weaknesses. Having gone through the race, would you change anything about those answers?
At the Masquerade, Russell’s strength’s were apparent, the ones I knew about already. Sharp eye, quick, and he nailed it. We both work well alone. What I’ve come to learn is, that, it is not so much about weakness and strengths, as it is about the timing -- when they become emphasized and then how one responds to it. Also, it’s about your opinion of what strength and weakness is. Where I may think it’s a strength to put my feelings out there, others may think its pathetic, or a weakness. Strength? I found the other teams to easy to read. Weakness, clouded judgment on the compatibility of my own team.

How has this experience changed your relationship?
It pushes the hand, exposing areas of our personality, which we may not want other people to see. And that awareness, speeds up what you want or don’t want in a relationship.

Did you watch previous seasons of the show and did you learn anything from watching previous racers?
I personally should have recognized the importance of decision, whether both agree or not to agree on allying with other teams, and pre-plan how to agree on not agreeing. Did you get that?

What was the toughest part of the race for you?
Trying to form an ally with my partner.

What was the biggest adjustment you had to make whilst running the Race?
The biggest adjustment was functioning without water, food, and sleep. I need to refuel, or even my speech gets funny. The other regret was, not bringing Gortex shoes.

Were you worried about how your personalities would come across on TV?
I have a big personality, which didn’t come across. I knew I closed down on the outside. I was going into think tank mode. Subject: How to get us on the same page, and quick! I can’t answer for Russell.

Having seen yourselves on TV, do you feel you were accurately portrayed?
For the most part, yes.

Cindy, in you exit interview when the experience was still fresh, you mentioned that you felt stronger, more cognizant of the fact you could do more than you ever thought possible. You felt this was something that you could take away with you. Do you still feel that way?
It’s frustrating, not having been heard as much as I could of during the race, but again, I also realized that I allowed it. So now, watching myself with an objective eye, I’m empowered by the realization that being pragmatic is one thing, being a schmuck, is another.

Have either of you made any plans (even tentative) to go back to Italy or Austria?
I’m considering going for Christmas this year.

What have you been up to since race?
Working on my Child Safety System I created with a cool marketing plan to go with. My system is more of a “preventive” aid against kidnappers, as apposed to a “finding” technique. On the lighter side, I create and develop smaller projects, like my “DuckCovers”, which will be sold on starting Monday.

Got to go! Thanks! Cindy Lee Duck

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[Thanks to CBS's PR Department for arranging this interview.]