The Sports Page

Season 9, Episode 11

It was a tight, tight race this time, with less than half an hour separating teams at the start. The lead bounced around a fair bit until BJ & Tyler opted out of the monkey business (which had to kill them) and Fast Forwarded their way to a bug-filled first place. Ray & Yolanda's false start at the same task pushed them perilously close to elimination, but, in the end, Joseph & Monica’s confusion in the Buddha Garden, followed by some ill-advised pot-carrying, brought them down.
So they put on their game faces and chowed down. Props to them. And bonus points for the "fingernails full of guts" description-which I'm sure is closer to the truth than the old tastes-like-chicken routine.
With only a couple of Fast Forwards on the Race these days, deciding when it is most advantageous is a bit of a no-brainer: If you're close the front when that green envelope appears, it is time to go for it. So the Play of the Week isn't so much about deciding to try it out, as it about staying the course. Facing down two big bowls full of bugs, which you don't have to eat, is something that would send a lot of Racers heading for the exit. But BJ & Tyler recognized that backing out-especially after Ray & Yolanda had already bailed-would turn them from front-runners into also-rans. So they put on their game faces and chowed down. Props to them. And bonus points for the "fingernails full of guts" description-which I'm sure is closer to the truth than the old tastes-like-chicken routine.

For much of the Race, it's not really about first place-it's about avoiding last place. Under those circumstances, slow and steady will do the job. But, as the number of teams is slowly whittled away, it becomes more and more important to be pushing ahead all the time. With only four teams left, nothing should be taken for granted. For example, if a cab driver assures you, at midnight, that there are no buses until the next morning and that you needn't bother checking with that other counter over there, the wise course would be to take five or ten minutes to confirm it. The Smooth Move course would be to take him at his word and saunter off to a hotel for the night, putting yourself in last place and a good hour or so behind every other team. Memo to Joseph & Monica: Given the tight departure times and the fact that the three teams were on the same flight into Bangkok, not seeing any other teams is a good sign that you're on the wrong track.

Missing the bus got Joseph & Monica off on the wrong foot, but Ray & Yolanda's will-they-won't-they at the Fast Forward saved their bacon at the Roadblock. Thus Where the Wheels Came off the Bus was a bit later, with a one-two punch of failing to find the clue at the Buddha Garden, causing them to fall behind, and then choosing for the trickier, more physical Detour option because it was different from what the other two teams were doing. Now, there is something to be said for gambling that the road less travelled is shorter, but it is equally valid to suggest that keeping your enemies close is a good idea, too. Staying with the rest of the pack could have given them the opportunity to overtake Ray & Yolanda in a dash for the mat. I'll also note that, given Monica's already-demonstrated fragility when it comes to physical tasks (remember the swordfish haul?), lugging a board full of pots around Thailand was not exactly playing to her strengths.

 

Lies, Damn Lies, and...

Eric & Jeremy's second-place finish-giving them ten out of eleven legs in the top two-cemented their status as the best Racers ever, atop a top-five that includes other Race heavyweights Colin & Christie, Frank & Margarita, Rob & Amber, and Kris & Jon. And what do those four teams have in common? That's right, a conspicuous lack of giant novelty checks for one million dollars.
Statistics
RankTARTeamFinishAverageWeighted Average
19Eric and JeremyTBD1.6.0254
25Colin and Christie22.5.0315
31Frank and Margarita22.5.0330
47Rob and Amber22.4.0332
56Kris and Jon22.5.0351
61Rob and Brennan12.6.0366
76Hayden and Aaron42.8.0367
83Flo and Zach12.8.0380
93Ken and Gerard32.7.0387
103Derek and Drew43.1.0390
139BJ and TylerTBD2.8.0426
144Reichen and Chip13.5.0434
157Uchenna and Joyce13.4.0439
175Chip and Kim13.7.0455
186Freddy and Kendra13.8.0469
212Alex and Chris13.6.0494
239Joseph and Monica43.8.0503
319Ray and YolandaTBD4.5.0569
Meanwhile, BJ & Tyler are in the sweet spot, hanging out with four previous winners down in the teens. Ray & Yolanda? Just happy to be here.

 

Next Week

Ray & Yolanda dodged a bullet this week, but, if they win the Race, I'll eat my hat (it's a nice hat, too). Eric & Jeremy are clearly the strongest team left, but the home stretch often includes a few twists that mean the Race is not always to the swiftest. My gut says that the hippies will pull it off. Good thing, they'll need that money for some new clothes. And, with a million bucks, Tyler will even be able to afford underwear!

Leg 9-11 At a Glance


Start pointLake Bennett, Darwin, Australia
End pointMarble Temple, Bangkok, Thailand
Distance traveled10300 km
Distance to date53800 km

 

Start OrderTimeFinish OrderTime
1Ray and Yolanda0113BJ and TylerTBD
2Eric and Jeremy0120Eric and JeremyTBD
3Joseph and Monica0121Ray and YolandaTBD
4BJ and Tyler0122Joseph and MonicaTBD

 

FAST FORWARD
Eat Bugs
Go to a restaurant and complete a popular after school activity: snacking on a bowl of fried crickets.
TeamBegan AttemptResult
BJ and Tyler1Won
Ray and Yolanda2Failed

 

ROADBLOCK
Monkey Feast
Prepare a feast and present it to the temple monkeys.
TeamTaken byRecordInOut
Eric and JeremyEric(5/9)22
Joseph and MonicaJoseph(5/10)33
Ray and YolandaYolanda(5/10)44

 

DETOUR
Move It
Altar It
Carry 72 pots from a pottery to a boat by balancing them on a board.Go to a temple and build a small shrine, applying gold leaf to a statue.
TeamInOutTeamInOut
Joseph and Monica44Eric and Jeremy22
Ray and Yolanda33

Leaderboard

Leg12345678910111213
BJ and Tyler21421255341
Eric and Jeremy12112114122
Ray and Yolanda75377633413
Joseph and Monica63863322234
Fran and Barry 895444415
Lake and Michelle5723556
David and Lori449567
Danielle and Dani98688
Wanda and Desiree3679
Lisa and Joni1010
John and Scott11