|Posted on Mar 30, 2014 11:00pm|
AFGHANIMALS EDGE COWBOYS
As teams continued racing through Sri Lanka, cowboys Jet & Cord battled with cousins Leo & Jamal for a first place finish, leading up to a thrilling footrace to the Pit Stop. By the smallest of margins, the Afghanimals beat out the cowboys, while country singers Caroline & Jennifer came in last.
NO EXCUSES Departing the Colombo Rowing Club at 2:59am, father and son Dave & Connor ripped open their clue sending them to the Dutch Museum where they needed to search the Hall of Headstones for their next clue. With the news that the museum didn’t open until 8:30am, all seven teams gathered in front of the closed doors as the morning broke over Colombo. Nearing the halfway point of the Race, teams had plenty on their minds. While Dave credited Connor for carrying the weight for their team, Connor felt his dad underestimated the skills he contributed, calling him “just as strong as the other teams.” Meanwhile, the Afghanimals called themselves “the only other team that’s given a good performance without a win” and set a goal of beating the cowboys and Dave & Connor. After surviving a Speed Bump in the previous leg, the Brenchels now wanted to aim higher. Rachel commented, “I totally feel like we’re not racing up to our potential at this point.” Now, back on an even playing field with the other six teams, Brendon said, “No excuses.”
AN INCREDIBLE VIEW At 8:30, when the doors to the colonial building opened, the seven teams ran through a columned courtyard (where John stumbled and quickly recovered) and turned into a room housing antique furniture and headstones where a young Sri Lankan man in Dutch colonial clothes handed them their clue. Ripping it open, the teams discovered they would be traveling by train through the lush landscape to the city of Alawwa. Once there, they had to make their way to the Ceypetco Fuel Station. From the nearby Fort Railway Station, the seven teams boarded their train and settled in for their picturesque ride to Alawwa. While Jet sat down near an open door of the train car to admire the lush, green view that whizzed past him, the Afghanimals danced to music provided by a group of local musicians playing instruments and singing. Of the incredible view, Caroline said, “It’s really beautiful out here. It’s mountainous. It’s green.” Dave added, “It’s so great to see people in the environment where they really live. It’s a magnificent country.”
FILL ‘ER UP Before the train barely stopped pulling into the tiny station in Alawwa, all teams, led by the Brenchels, bolted off, ran across the tracks, and down the street to the Ceypetco Fuel Station to find a Roadblock. In Sri Lanka, there are an estimated 500,000 three-wheelers. In this Roadblock, teams would help them keep motoring on. First, they needed to enter the gas station, pick a colored badge, and then search among a chaotic tangle of hundreds of three-wheelers to find four with the same colored marker. Then, they had to lead their tiny taxis back to the gas station and fill them up. With the slimmest of leads, Rachel ran into gas station office and fittingly selected a green badge (to match her sparkles and sequins) while close behind Jamal chose the yellow placard, John took red, Big Easy chose dark blue, Dave (who had gas station working experience at 16) took brown, Caroline selected light blue, leaving purple for Cord.
THE WRONG GREEN With the line of three-wheelers stretching as far as the eye could see, even spanning across a long bridge, six of the racers understood that they needed to match the color they chose to the colored placard attached to the three-wheelers’ windshield. One didn’t. Rachel misunderstood her clue and thought she needed to find and fill green three-wheelers completely ignoring the placard in the windshield. Wanting a lead on other teams, Rachel chose a green three-wheeler (with a red placard) and directed it to one of only two available pumps in the station. As she held the nozzle, Rachel creatively blocked other three-wheelers from taking a spot at the pump by planting her feet and essentially booty bumping against the aggressive taxis to stop them. Of course, for all of her hard work, she didn’t earn any credit for filling up the three-wheeler with a red placard or the blue one she filled next.
TRAFFIC JAM As Rachel wildly continued to fill up the wrong three-wheelers, an unusually aggressive Dave got other teams’ attention in his mission to fill ones with brown placards. Finding the correct three-wheeler was no issue for Dave, but battling for use of one of two pumps in the crowded station brought out his ultracompetitive side. Employing a strategy to find all four three-wheelers with brown placards first, Dave then lined them up hoping to fill them consecutively. First, Dave bested Jamal by blocking the Afghanimal’s three-wheeler and then proceeded to physically move it out of the way. Leo later joked, “Dave may have an AARP card but he’s like in his twenties.” Then, Dave tried taking the nozzle from John who appeared to be next in line since his three-wheeler was closer to the pump. Dave lost this battle but he filled his three-wheeler up right after John finished. John later commented, “I feel like whoever is most insane under those circumstances is the most successful.” After filling up what she believed to be her fourth three-wheeler, Rachel waited expectantly beside the gas station manager who didn’t hand her a clue. Completely befuddled and flustered, Rachel shouted to Brendon, “I don’t know what I did wrong!” Still not reading her clue, Rachel continued to direct incorrect three-wheelers to the pump until she took one that John needed with a red placard. Before taking the three-wheeler for himself, John explained to Rachel what she had been doing wrong. Now in last place with no three-wheelers filled, Rachel said, “I’m such an idiot. Can’t believe that happened.”
WHATEVER IT TAKES Other racers employed their own strategies to fill up their four three-wheelers. Jamal plays traffic cop, trying to open up a clear path for each of his three-wheelers, in hopes of reaching the gas station with few impediments. Meanwhile, Cord directed his three-wheelers past the long line snaking from the station and backed them in from the front, essentially bypassing the wait for the pump. But it was Big Easy’s pure physical strength that got him to four filled three-wheelers first. On his last vehicle, the Globetrotter stopped another three-wheeler from taking his spot with a hand to its windshield, pushing it away. Then, after lifting another three-wheeler aside, Big Easy filled his last taxi and ripped open the clue instructing him and Flight Time to travel by train to Rambukkana, then take a three-wheeler to the Millennium Elephant Foundation, and search the river for their next clue. As Jessica & John, the Afghanimals, and the Globetrotters bought tickets for a train departing for Rambukkana in twelve minutes, Rachel struggled to correct her colossal blunder. Finally directing the correct three-wheelers with green badges to the pump, Rachel only had one filled by the time the cowboys, country singers, and Dave & Connor joined the other three teams at the train station. Feeling the ticking clock in last place, Brendon encouraged his wife, shouting, “We will outrun anybody. As soon as you’re done, we’re gonna sprint and pass everyone!” With only five minutes until the train departed, Rachel filled her third three-wheeler as Connor hoped the newlyweds wouldn’t make it in time. Just as Rachel filled her last three-wheeler, the train to Rambukkana pulled into the station and the other six teams began to board. Sprinting with every ounce of energy, the Brenchels ran from the gas station to the train station and jumped on board to join the other six teams with no time to spare. During the ride to Rambukkana, Brendon told Rachel, “We need to be the racers we used to be. Good, sharp, hungry. Not sloppy.”
WORKING WITH ELEPHANTS Jumping off the train even before it stopped in Rambukkana, teams ran across the tracks and into three-wheelers. Just like the previous leg, teams alternately cheered and cringed as their drivers wove through traffic narrowly missing other vehicles. A gleeful Connor said, “We’re cooking right now baby!” Reaching the Millennium Elephant Foundation within seconds of each other, the teams darted into the sanctuary and across a bridge spanning a river. Seeing red and yellow markers down at the river’s edge, Connor, Cord, Jamal, and John led racers in scaling the steep embankment covered in lush, green plants and grass to grab their clue before scrambling back up. Ripping the clues open, teams found a Detour having the choice of Trunk or Sheets. Trunk gave teams the opportunity to work with elephants. After choosing a piece of marked timber, teams had to attach a specially designed chain that elephants used to carry logs. Working together, the elephants and teams must carry a total of three logs each and load a truck. Sheets gave teams the opportunity to make environmentally friendly paper made with elephant dung. First, teams had to load a wheelbarrow with elephant dung and transport it to a mixing station. Combining the dung with water and scraps of paper they would create a pulp that they needed to spread onto paper making machines. Once they made five sheets of the high quality paper and laid out a stack of pressed paper to dry, the managing director would hand them their next clue.
DOWN AND DIRTY With the cowboys, Afghanimals, Dave & Connor, and Jessica & John taking the only four available chains to haul logs with elephants, the Globetrotters just missed out in fifth place and had no choice but to make paper with the country singers and the Brenchels. Running over to the massive pile of elephant dung, Big Easy used a shovel to transfer the dung to their wheelbarrow while Flight Time shed any modesty and concern by scoping the dung with his bare hands. Flight Time later joked, “I loved every minute of it.” Then, the Globetrotters, with Brenchel and country singers close behind, ran their full wheelbarrow of dung to the mixing station where they combined it with scraps of paper in a bucket of water. Now having to vigorously mix the unappealing brown concoction with a large stick for three minutes to create a pulp, Flight Time said, “I’m getting down and dirty.”
LUGGING LUMBER Meanwhile, as Jessica & John and Dave & Connor struggled to properly and tightly attach the chain to a log for an elephant to carry, the cowboys and Afghanimals pulled ahead and began their battle for first place. Putting their ranch expertise to use, the cowboys quickly wrapped their chain around a log with no extra slack and received approval from the manager. Then, their helpful elephant used its truck to pull a specially made bit into its mouth to easily hold and carry the log. With the Afghanimals close behind, Cord put a log on his shoulder and walked behind the hard working elephant to the truck. The cowboys marveled as they watched the elephant use its strong trunk to lift the heavy log from the ground onto the bed of the truck. After Cord added his log to make two of the required six, the cowboys noticed the Afghanimals directly behind them with their first two logs as Jet said, “We gotta stay ahead of that next group.”
TINY BUBBLES After the Globetrotters, country singers, and Brenchel finished mixing their pulp and hauling the heavy bucket to the paper making stations, they carefully watched women who demonstrated how to properly make and press sheets of paper. Walking over to separate stations, the teams took several scoops of pulp and covered a screen partially submerged in water. After spreading the pulp evenly and sifting it, they lifted the screen from the water, set it on the table, placed a light cloth over it, and smoothed out the edges. Then, turning the screen over, they had to press it tightly to remove excess water and properly flatten and set the paper. However, when they removed the screen, the teams all found the biggest culprit left behind ruining their paper: bubbles. No matter how carefully they sifted and spread the pulp, bubbles continued to form in every attempt they made. A worried Jennifer exclaimed, “This is impossible to get rid of all the bubbles.”
RACE RAMPS UP As Jessica & John and Dave & Connor finally figured out how to secure chains around their logs, the cowboys and Afghanimals continued to fight for the lead. For every two logs that the cowboys and their elephant placed on the truck, the Afghanimals and their elephant were right behind with their two logs. After Jet & Cord and their elephant delivered three logs apiece to the truck, the cowboys rewarded their helpful pachyderm with palm leaves for a job well done before ripping open their clue instructing them to travel by taxi to the Heritage Ambepussa Rest House and let their ears guide them to the wise man. Finishing only moments behind the cowboys in second place, the Afghanimals declared of the cowboys, “They can’t dominate this whole Race.” With Jessica & John and Dave & Connor finishing the Detour in third and fourth place, the teams making paper finally realized they hadn’t been properly pressing the paper after turning it over. Of the three teams, the Globetrotters made the adjustment first after watching the demonstration again and began receiving approvals from their judge after each attempt. Just as the Globetrotters completed their third piece of paper, an annoyed Rachel reminded Brendon they forgot to press their previous screen and remembered on their next attempt to produce their first sheet. The Globetrotters continued to set the pace, completing their five sheets of paper and laying another stack of papers to dry in the sun as Brenchel and the country singers both had only finished four. Brenchel kept their narrow lead, finishing the Detour ahead of the last place country singers as Rachel promised, “We’re not going home this leg.”
FOOTRACE FOR FIRST Arriving at the Heritage Ambepussa Rest House in a first place tie, cowboys Jet & Cord had a better ear than cousins Leo & Jamal and listened for the sounds of flute playing that led them straight to the wise man. After attentively listening to and applauding the wise man’s performance, the cowboys took their clue from him instructing them to travel by taxi to the Pit Stop at the Mount Lavinia Hotel beach. Jumping into their taxi only a minute or two ahead of the Afghanimals, Jet warned Cord, “We’re gonna have to outrun them two.” In their taxi, the Afghanimals told the driver, “Those are bad cowboys.” When the Afghanimals’ aggressive taxi driver passed the cowboys, Jamal joked, “It’s cowboys versus Indians. And the Indians are winning.” Almost immediately, the cowboys’ driver passed the Afghanimals back in a daring move between two large trucks, Cord half joked, “Be careful man. We don’t have life insurance.” While the remaining five teams all patiently listened to the wise man play, the cowboys and Afghanimals continued their incredibly tight race to the Pit Stop - each team determined to beat the other. After a few more lead changes, the two teams approached the hotel where they jumped out of their taxis, ran through a railway station, and onto the beach where Phil stood waiting. The two teams were neck and neck as they ran down the length of the beach, but at the last moment, the Afghanimals turned on their turbo power and edged out the cowboys to reach the mat first by a matter of feet. For their victory, the Afghanimals won a five-night trip from Travelocity to Berlin, Germany. On their win, Leo commented, “The Afghanimals are here and they’re hungry. We ain’t going nowhere.” After losing a close race and settling for second, Jet said, “It just stings a little.”
BROTHER VS. BROTHER Benefiting from the skills of a fast driver, the fifth place Globetrotters caught up to fourth place Dave & Connor at a stop light where the two teams exchanged gentle, joking jabs about a potential footrace to Phil. However, when the taxis began moving again, Babu, Dave & Connor’s driver, informed them that his brother was driving the Globetrotters’ taxi. When the two taxis entered the neighborhood near the hotel, it became clear that Babu’s brother didn’t know exactly where to go. Dave & Connor quickly told Babu not to help his brother out and send the Globetrotters in the wrong direction. After briefly conversing with his brother, Babu told Dave & Connor, “He’s going wrong place.” For their subterfuge, Dave & Connor maintained their fourth place standing after losing a close footrace to engaged couple Jessica & John who were thrilled to finally beat the father and son on a leg.
WE’RE STILL HERE With a relieved Brendon & Rachel finishing fifth, the pressure mounted for Flight Time & Big Easy when Babu’s brother took them somewhere near a bus terminal instead of the railway station next to the hotel. After their instructions for the driver to head to the beach didn’t seem to help, Big Easy sighed, “This is no joke.” As country singers Caroline & Jennifer neared the hotel, Flight Time thought he saw another taxi and looked worried. But, in the end, the misadventures of their taxi driver couldn’t keep them down as the Globetrotters finished in sixth place. A happy Flight Time told Phil, “Our whole motto is always never come in last. The only leg that counts is the last one.” Stepping on the mat in last place, country singers Caroline & Jennifer dreaded to hear what Phil had to say. But when he told them this was a non-elimination leg, the thrilled team broke out into big smiles (along with some tears) and hugged each other. Trying to come to terms with how they finished last, Jennifer commented, “We didn’t make any mistakes. We had a great day. But it’s on a whole different level with the people that we’re racing against because nobody makes mistakes.” Even though the country singers now faced a Speed Bump, the upbeat pair promised Phil they would fight their hardest to stay in the Race. A confident Jennifer said, “We can do it. We’re still here.”
2406 ROUTE MARKERS
Roadblock: In Sri Lanka, there are an estimated 500,000 three-wheelers. In this Roadblock, teams would help them keep motoring on. First, they needed to enter the gas station, pick a colored badge, and then search among a chaotic tangle of hundreds of three-wheelers to find four with the same colored marker. Then, they had to lead their tiny taxis back to the gas station and fill them up. Performed Roadblock: Rachel, Jamal, Dave, John, Big Easy, Cord, Caroline
Detour: In this Detour, teams had the choice of Trunk or Sheets. Trunk gave teams the opportunity to work with elephants. After choosing a piece of marked timber, teams had to attach a specially designed chain that elephants used to carry logs. Working together, the elephants and teams must carry a total of three logs each and load a truck. Sheets gave teams the opportunity to make environmentally friendly paper made with elephant dung. First, teams had to load a wheelbarrow with elephant dung and transport it to a mixing station. Combining the dung with water and scraps of paper they would create a pulp that they needed to spread onto paper making machines. Once they made five sheets of the high quality paper and laid out a stack of pressed paper to dry, the managing director would hand them their next clue.
Trunk: Jet/Cord, Leo/Jamal, Jessica/John, Dave/Connor
Sheets: Flight Time/Big Easy, Brendon/Rachel, Caroline/Jennifer
Order of Finish:
1. Leo & Jamal 2. Jet & Cord 3. Jessica & John 4. Dave & Connor 5. Brendon & Rachel 6. Flight Time & Big Easy 7. Caroline & Jennifer