Episode 2: Eeny-meeny, chili-beeny, the spirits are about to speak....

Part the second, in which Rabrab has been sick as a dog for the last week wimps out. In which she is served up her first helping of crow, finds it not utterly unbearable, and decides to continue this nonsense. In which she makes one solid prediction for the upcoming leg, and waffles a lot on the rest.
John Vito & Jill went out much earlier than I predicted. And, they made their exit not for any of the reasons I suggested might be their downfall, but through either miscommunication or lack of attention to detail.
John Vito & Jill went out much earlier than I predicted. And, they made their exit not for any of the reasons I suggested might be their downfall, but through either miscommunication or lack of attention to detail. It's impossible to say which it was: did the people they asked for directions disregard the information that JVJ needed to go to the North Gate of the park, or did JVJ themselves not take the suggestion in the clue packet seriously enough? Whichever the case, it doesn't seem related to either the I Ching hexagram, or the zodiac. I'm batting 0-for-1 so far.

The I Ching hexagram for the second leg is 26 Ta Ch'u / The Taming Power of the Great. This hexagram has a triple meaning, expressing different aspects of the concept "holding firm": holding firm in the sense of holding together; holding firm in the sense of holding back; and holding firm in the sense of respecting wisdom. Teams will need to hold themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally together in the face of difficulties; restrain themselves from ill-advised or rash attempts to overcome an obstacle, saving their energy for a strong advance once the way is clear; and make a decision and hold to it.

Overall, I'd say this should be a good leg for the teams that get along the most smoothly, and who work together the best. The ones that will have problems are they ones that don't pull together, either because one partner insists on being in complete control, or because they haven't yet figured out who needs to be in charge and when. I also anticipate either some severe bunching or a time-consuming task that requires meticulous attention and can't be rushed through, leading to time squandered in doing it over.

1) Rob and Amber:
Team hexagram: 12 P'i / Standstill, Stagnation
Rob: Cancer (unevolved) (assigned)
Amber: Virgo (assigned)

This one shouldn't be a problem for Rob and Amber. They don't tend to waste effort dithering around, or fretting, and they do tend to be fairly quick about making necessary decisions. The only possible problem for Rob and Amber could be his apparent dislike for waiting around.

They'll probably do fine. Maybe not top of the heap, but near there: top four, most likely.

2) Danny & Oswald:
52 Kên/ Keeping Still, The Mountain
Danny: Cancer (evolved) (assigned)
Oswald: Sagitarius (assigned)

This is a leg tailor-made for Danny and Oswald. They've already got most of the qualities that the leg hexagram recommends: they work together; they know when to hurry and when to chill; they assess their choices, make one, and stick with it; and they respect others who may know more about a situation than they do.

Certainly in the top 3, very possibly first to the mat.

3) Teri & Ian:
24 Fu / Return, The Turning Point
Teri: Capricorn (actual)
Ian: Aquarius (actual)

Another team that's shown all the right qualities to have a fairly smooth go of leg 2, if the I Ching is to be believed about what it will take. Ian's dispassionate approach to problem solving and Teri's cold practicality will be especially helpful. There may be some squabbling, but I don't foresee any real problems for the Big Kahunas (heh) in leg 2.

Top half of the field, probably top 4.

4) Eric & Danielle:
13 T'ung Jên/ Fellowship with Men
Eric: Sagitarius (assigned)
Danielle: Libra (assigned)

There may be some difficulties, here. The leg hexagram calls for teamwork and restraint. Danielle has shown no desire so far to work as part of a team. She seems to want to be carried along. And I don't think that's going to sit well with Eric when he really needs her to help out. I think that the first fractures in this team may start to show, as they spend time sorting out the team dynamic that they need for other things.

They'll drop from top four to somewhere in the middle; between 5 and 7.

5) Joe & Bill:
50 Ting / The Cauldron
Joe: Taurus (assigned)
Bill: Capricorn (assigned)

Another team that already has the qualities the leg hexagram calls for, in trumps. I expect to see our favorite Evil Gay Grampas move up handily and, along with Danny and Oswald, make the Race look downright easy, at least for this leg.

Top four.

6) Dustin & Kandice:
38 K'uei / Opposition, Disharmony
Dustin: Leo (assigned)
Kandice: Leo (assigned)

For these two, if they can continue as they've started, I don't foresee any major problems for them in Leg 2. However, I also don't foresee any major improvements in their placement, either. They should have known better than to have trusted Mary about the flight for even an instant, though. That was the Leo ego showing itself: of course there was no way that Kentucky would try to fool two such wonderful folks and excellent Racers as the Beauty Queens.

They'll hold steady in the middle of the pack.

7) Uchenna/Joyce:
20 Kuan / Contemplation, View
Uchenna: Leo (assigned)
Joyce: Cancer (evolved) (assigned)

This team share a team hexagram with Charla and Mirna. In both cases, the team's throw indicates a need to beware of concentrating on details to the detriment of the overall. For Joyce and Uchenna, the danger is that they'll be more concerned with how they come across; that they won't be perceived as "good people." What we've seen of their Racing style seems to mesh well with this week's hexagram: they work together well; they don't squabble between themselves, or with other teams; and they have shown some indication that they know when to "make haste slowly."

They'll hold steady, no big improvement, but no big drop, either.

8) Charla & Mirna:
20 Kuan / Contemplation, View
Charla: Taurus (assigned)
Mirna: Libra (unevolved) (assigned)

For Charla and Mirna, both hexagrams point to many of the same things: a need to keep an eye on the big picture rather than focusing on details exclusively, and need to choose wisely where to spend their energy. For Mirna in particular, the leg hexagram should serve as a warning to check her tendency to indulge in drama for its own sake. Both of them also need to pay less attention to the other teams and more to their own Race.

They aren't in danger, but they aren't safe, either. They'll stay in the back half of the pack.

9) David & Mary:
50 The Cauldron
David: Taurus (assigned)
Mary: Cancer (assigned)

This is one of the teams I foresee having some problems, considering the hexagram for this leg. . Mary insists on being in charge, but she isn't very good at assessing situations and she makes lucky choices rather than wise ones. She gets fretful easily, wasting energy on worrying about all sorts of things that she can't change. David? He's still pretty much of a non-entity, even after seeing him in 9 episodes total so far.

They won't go this week, but they won't get much further.

10) Kevin & Drew:
Team hexagram: 21 Shih Ho / Biting Through
Kevin: Aries (actual)
Drew: Aries (actual)

Oh, guys. You were both so true to both your zodiac signs and your team hexagram last week. Obstacle after obstacle cropped up in their path. Typically for Aries, though, they both kept on going. In the immortal words of Sammy Cahn: "Once there was a silly old ram, Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam, No one could make that ram, scram. He kept buttin' that dam." That said, it appears that the penalties that the team hexagram keeps referring to weren't rule violations, but obstacles that they brought onto themselves. Additionally, it doesn't appear that it's the overconfidence that will do them in; they are lacking the joy of their first run. Understandable, really, since physical pain and concern for a friend both have a way of sucking all the joy out of anything.

So, the whole "Holding back" thing should bode well for them right? Wrong. They aren't restraining themselves, they've been hobbled by outside circumstances and they're using up their strength fighting something that's stronger than they are. Last week I said they'd go out in the first three legs. This week, I'm going to set myself up for a second serving of crow casserole by saying unequivocably:

These guys are toast.