The Third Steve

The race's last Steve standing takes on our questions. More about those pesky airline tickets, some TWoP shout-outs and the longest eyebrow raise ever.

What attracted you to the show?
Dave and I were huge fans of the show from the first episode. We discussed each episode and put ourselves in the racers' place and decided we could do most everything that was presented to them....just slower.
Of course we wanted to win but we were realists and the fact we made it on the show when so many others did not was our major success. That and we wanted free cheese.
What were your goals for the race?
It was important for us to enjoy the race. Money was not a motivating factor like it was with others. We did not want to perpetuated the "ugly American" stigma and would take the time to thank everyone associated with putting it together. Of course we wanted to win but we were realists and the fact we made it on the show when so many others did not was our major success. That and we wanted free cheese.

How did you prepare for it?
Dave and I did take preparation seriously. I lost about 35 pounds (Yeah, I know, it's like taking two seats out of Wrigley Field...sure there's less seats but who the hell can tell.) and he quit a 2 and a half pack a day smoking habit. Unfortunately, Dave banged himself up real good on the first leg and he slowed my tremendous sprinting capability down to a crawl.

Did you watch previous seasons of the show and did you learn anything from watching previous racers?
We watched every episode. The thing we learned was never to give up. Unless production does not tell you to head straight for the mat then you still had a chance to remain in the race. We learned that the locals could be a tremendous help. There were many instances during the race that was not shown where Dave and I got fabulous help from residents.
If they made me laugh I liked them. My favorites were Kenny and Gerard and Kevin and Drew.
Did you have any favorite teams, locations, tasks or moments from previous seasons?
If they made me laugh I liked them. My favorites were Kenny and Gerard and Kevin and Drew.

Did you have a strategy going in? If so, what was it and how did it evolve as the race went on?
We wanted to run a respectable race. By that I mean no under the table moves. We also did NOT want to finish last. Well the second cancelled the first almost immediately. We took it upon ourselves to approach Josh and Steve in the SwissAir ticket counter. Our efforts were to shutout Chip and Reichen, but the Supremes were the benefactor of our ruthlessness due to a miscounting of tickets available.

And now the rest of the story. If you look close at the tapes you will see counter lines indicated by race flags. Chip and Reichen decided not to adhere to those counters and proceeded to attempt to garner tickets at SwissAir AND Lufthansa from different agents. Dave and I went first to SwissAir then to Lufthansa then back to SwissAir and saw them in action. You saw part of the story with Millie and Amanda at Lufthansa. The gauntlet had been thrown down. Our efforts were only to shut out a strong, and at that time, not a very friendly team. Sorry again Monica and Sheree!

What was your reaction to your competition when you first saw them?
As much as production tries to keep us from mingling you still are able to make a pretty strong opinion of the others before you start. Our initial reactions morphed into the group from the first episode. These were the folks that wanted to enjoy the experience and did not have stars in their eyes.

How did you feel about comments made about your team on websites - especially in regards to the "slashing tires" comment?
Bah...if you want to be on the Amazing Race you'd better not be thin skinned. (I'm looking at you Miss Alli and Tribefan! Hee!)

How serious were you when you warned Tian and Jaree about their tires?
I wanted her to think I was serious. Dave and I worked hard to move up from last and were very protective of our rare position. We had driven hard all night through France at a breakneck pace (of course WELL within speed limits) and were thrilled that we were in what appeared to be third place. There was no way to determine if they would let in limited teams onto the pier as they had during the Roadblock in Venice. The fact that Dave and I and two beefy, stinky crew guys spent the night in a tiny C class Mercedes probably added to our attitude. We actually love those women. Just not that morning.

No other season of TAR has aired so many disagreements about places in line and cutting. What was your impression of those incidents?
Teams were looking for any advantage, damn the consequences. Precedence had been set in some instances and lines had been drawn in the sand. Hey, it's a million dollars. Some viewers tend to forget that and put too much weight on "proper behavior". And it is a TV show. If you stop and think you'll realize that some of the conflicts are massaged into happening.
Reichen and Chip, Jeff and Dave as well as several other teams scared the hell out of us.
In your interview with Fans of Reality TV, you mentioned that you when you were asking Steve and Josh to purchase tickets for you, you had planned on that move not only helping you out, but also "screwing over" Reichen and Chip. Had you already picked them as a team to beat?
Reichen and Chip, Jeff and Dave as well as several other teams scared the hell out of us. The clowns were also upside-down triangles. Who wouldn't pick them to be competitive? But we did not want to screw them over until we saw them in action at the ticket counters.

Do you think that move helped set a tone that continued through your time on the race? (i.e. - disagreements about places in line and so forth)
Sure it did. The alliances were almost immediately set from that point. With only Kelly and Jon on their own.

How much did the knee injury figure into you choosing to take the fast forward in Venice?
It was the deciding factor. Dave fell numerous times on the mountain and really mucked it up for the duration. Although he did not dwell on it and gamely pressed on, I knew he couldn't run. And the mountain took its toll on my knees too. A sedentary lifestyle will do that to you. 3 months of treadmill did not prepare me for one of the hardest (IMHO) legs in TAR history. That was why our Amazing Race came to be known as the Amazing Stroll. And as it turns out it was the right decision. We would have been blown away on that sprint to the boat.

How fun was that fast forward?
As fun as it could be without knowing a single word those folks said! I'm pretty sure it was all Italian fat jokes.

You weren't really shown as having any alliances (beyond that first airplane ticket purchase). Were you close to any teams during the race?
The alliance remained throughout the entire race. The conferences and strategy sessions that we had at pitstops did not make for exciting TV.

It seemed like leg after leg, we all thought you guys were in last, but you somehow pulled it out. Did you feel like you were constantly on the edge of elimination?
We thought we were Dead Men Walking in Vienna. Of course we saw the longest eyebrow raise ever on that mat. After that it was all gravy.

In the first episode, there was a shot of you guys in the airport without your packs - did you check them? It seems most racers don't - did you think it would gain you an advantage?
We did check them. Big guys =big heavy clothes. And we both over packed. I shed about 15 lbs of clothes along the race route.
What were the pit stops like? Was there really enough time to eat/sleep/mingle as is shown?
We made time to E/S/M. Some of us were becoming fast friends. And we wanted to share our experiences and do some shared strategizing. Most of us were lucky to get 4 or 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep during a stop. Our heads were reeling and the sleep was fitful.

What's your favorite pit stop memory?
I got lucky with Millie in Venice. Dave got lucky with Chuck.

Actually the "eat sleep mingle" in Sheesloth Orth in Austria was where the teams really let down their guard. We laughed nonstop during dinner there. Those guys REALLY are clowns! And if you read this Clown Jon, I owe you one for that cream pie, mister!

What was your favorite race moment that didn't make it to TV?
The boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam. We had a great local on the boat with us. Dave discussed WWII history, we joked about Amsterdam's reputation and fairly well breezed through the map.

What was the toughest part of the race for you?
Knowing we were on borrowed time after falling behind on leg 3. And never getting a chance to recover, we knew we would not continue around the world. We weren't defeatists, just realists.

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?
No I'd just add fortitude and high pain threshold to his strengths. And BTW, that air traffic error I read about so often happened in 1986 for crying out loud. That statement was in reference to the CBS question "At what time were you most disappointed in your partner?" I had to go back 17 years to give an example. The skies around Chicago are safe folks.

What's up with your near-miss high fives? After watching your last leg, are you sad you didn't get to do a near-miss high poo five?
Dave and I used to do a chest bump until the unfortunate plate glass incident. It signifies nothing except it's cool when done correctly. And anyone that says poo is in denial. It was 15 feet of cow shit! Steaming wet cow shit! I wouldn't dig through that for a million dollars.......obviously.

What have you been up to since race?
I've been enjoying watching the show with my family, revel in watching my four year old daughter grow up, working extra days to recover some of the vacation I used for the race and counting the days to retirement.

Dave, how's the knee?
Yeah Dave. How is the knee, you big fake!

Talk about this interview.

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