Season 24: Episode 5 - Can't Make Fish Bite
Posted on Mar 23, 2014 11:00pm


In tropical Sri Lanka, Dave & Connor set the pace winning their second leg thanks to Connor’s sewing skills while Margie & Luke’s gamble on a flight left them hours behind and eliminated.


Leaving from Batu Caves at 2:26pm, Cowboys Jet & Cord ripped open their clue sending them 1,500 miles to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka. When they landed in the capital city of Colombo, they had to find the Gangaramaya Temple, the city’s most important place for Buddhist learning and worship. Once they were blessed they would receive their next clue

With the first six teams (Cowboys, Afghanimals, Dave & Connor, Caroline & Jennifer, Jessica & John, and the Globetrotters) all booking a direct flight landing at midnight, mother and son Margie & Luke departed the Pit Stop in seventh place at 5:12pm determined not to let the stress of the Race get to them like it had in previous legs. This goal was put to the test immediately when their taxi driver couldn’t find the travel agency where nearly all of the other teams booked the direct flight. Not wanting to waste more time, Margie instructed the driver to take them to the airport instead, saying, “We feel confident this is the best way to go.


Departing in last place at 6:08pm, newlyweds Brendon & Rachel, with a Speed Bump looming over them, arrived at the travel agency Margie & Luke couldn’t find hoping to book seats on the flight with the other six teams. When the agent informed the newlyweds that the flight was full, a worried Rachel begged, “That’s not okay. We need to make up time and this is the only way we can stay in the Race.” When the idea of putting their names on standby was deemed too risky, Brendon & Rachel heard a second option from the agent that they preferred: a flight connecting through Singapore that would actually land before all of the other teams. However, this option had its own potential pitfall with an extremely tight 30 minute layover time in Singapore. One of the agents strongly advised the newlyweds against this itinerary, but Rachel responded, “We will run through the airport if we have to. I don’t care if it’s risky. We don’t have an option here.” As they exited the travel agency with tickets in hand, the newlyweds added, “We’re desperate. We’re in last place. We’re dangerous racers right now because we’ve got nothing to lose.”


Meanwhile, at the airport, mother and son Margie & Luke gathered similar information to the Brenchels at the travel agency. With no seats available on the flight with the other six teams, Margie asked an agent to put her and Luke’s name on the standby list hoping something would become available. Then, with the help of a local, Margie & Luke found flights heading to Singapore, but nobody at the airport could guarantee the connecting flight from Singapore to Colombo. Not wanting to fly blindly to Singapore, knowing they would have a tight connection to purchase tickets and potentially end up stranded there, Margie & Luke placed all their hopes into the standby list to join the other teams. A worried Margie told her son, “We should’ve gone to the travel agency.”


With other teams abuzz having spotted the Brenchels darting through the airport to catch their flight, Brendon & Rachel had one game plan when they landed in Singapore: run as fast as they could to catch their connection to Colombo. As soon as their plane touched down in Singapore, the Brenchels charged through the concourse, dodging passengers along the way, as they heard the final boarding call for their flight to Colombo. When Brendon dropped his bag forcing him to backtrack, Rachel panicked, but the newlyweds breathed a sigh of relief when they arrived at the gate with a few precious seconds to spare. The Brenchels had big smiles plastered across their faces as they now jumped ahead of the teams on the other flight. Meanwhile in Kuala Lumpur, Margie & Luke had considerably less success with their risky plan. The mother and son waited hours for seats to open up on the flight with the remaining six teams, but at 10:35pm all passengers for the 11:00pm flight had checked in. Even if passengers who checked in didn’t show up at the gate, the agent told Margie & Luke they still wouldn’t make the flight because the airline would close boarding before they could purchase the ticket. A glum Margie told Luke, “We’re going to have to take the morning flight.” She also conceded, “We probably should’ve gone to Singapore.”


Landing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, newlyweds Brendon & Rachel jumped into a taxi and, with a Speed Bump to perform, hoped to gain any advantage over other teams by arriving at Gangaramaya Temple in first place. However, reaching the temple at 1:45am, the disappointed newlyweds found it locked up, closed for another four hours. One by one, the Brenchels greeted the six teams who slowly gathered outside the gate, as everyone now wondered what happened to Margie & Luke. Margie & Luke were still waiting to board their morning flight, when the gates of Gangaramaya Temple opened up at 5:45am, just as the sun began to rise. After taking off their shoes and tying traditional robes over their clothes, the teams respectfully entered the Buddhist place of worship. On the experience of receiving a blessing in the temple, Brendon commented, “I’ve actually studied Buddha. In order to enlighten yourself, you need to let go of the world and the material things that have happened. That’s our legs in the past two legs. We need to forget the past and let go of what’s already happened and just look to the future.” Once teams took their moment of reflection, they walked out of the temple and opened their clue instructing them to travel by train to the city of Galle and take a three-wheeler to the King Coconut Stand.


Boarding the train together, all seven teams settled into seats for their southbound ride to Galle. Caroline excitedly took a spot directly in front of the cowboys, saying, “We like to be near the cowboys because they’re magical.” She also reminded Jet & Cord of her super stalker-fan status of them she admitted on the very first day of the Race in Los Angeles. Caroline later added that becoming best friends with the cowboys was one of her main goals because “they’re the coolest guys on the planet.” As the train made its way to Galle, teams marveled at the gorgeous landscape they saw looking out the window. With the ocean on one side and lush jungle on the other, Connor called the experience “one of my favorite parts of the Race so far.” On the beautiful surroundings, Rachel remarked, “This is why you come on the Race.” As the still optimistic Margie & Luke finally boarded their flight to Colombo, the seven teams sprinted off the train in Galle and jumped into three-wheelers. The teams braced themselves and gripped the bars of the three-wheeler as their crazy drivers wove in between cars, avoided buses, and battled one another for pole position on the crowded highway. Half joking, Big Easy screamed of his driver, “He’s gonna kill us all!” When Cord stuck his hand out to bump fists with someone in an adjacent three-wheeler just as a bus approached, his brother Jet warned, “Keep your hands inside the dadgum three-wheeler.”


Arriving at the King Coconut Stand within seconds of each other, the seven teams ripped open their clue to find a Detour having the choice of Fishing Pole or Spin Control. Fishing Pole required teams to wade into the surf and climb onto a pair of fishing stilts. Once both team members caught a fish they had to deliver them to a hut on the shore. Spin Control required teams to learn and perform a traditional folk dance while continuing to spin drum-like instruments called rabans. Once they turned in a good performance, the lead dancer would hand them their next clue. Running down the beach and wading into the ocean with a fishing pole and a bag, father and son Dave & Connor, cowboys Jet & Cord, and engaged couple Jessica & John each chose their own fishing stilt in the neck-deep water, climbed atop it, and perched themselves on the narrow seat comprised of three sticks bound together. Using bait at the end of their fishing line, the teams anxiously waited for any nibble they felt tugging their pole, but in the early going, the fish weren’t biting. After one near miss, Connor caught the first fish of the six racers on stilts, proudly scooping it up into his bag. As other teams started showing signs of frustration when fish stole bait off their hooks, Connor patiently sat on his stilt and cheered on his father. Soon, a large silver fish emerged from the water when Dave pulled his line up and he quickly put it in his bag. Jumped off their perches, first place Dave & Connor waded back to shore and presented their haul to a fisherman on shore in exchange for their clue sending them to the Trendy Connections Garment Factory.


Meanwhile, the Globetrotters, country singers, Brenchels, and Afghanimals all put on traditional white robes and headscarves and began to learn the dance moves being taught by the locals. Most teams got the moves down quickly, but things got complicated when the drum-like rabans were introduced to the equation. For each team, one racer held a stick used to keep one raban spinning while their teammate held a three-pronged stick to spin three rabans at once. While Brendon and Jennifer both struggled to keep all three of their rabans spinning for the duration of the dance, the Globetrotters seemed like they would be naturals at the task and lived up to expectations. With plenty of practice spinning basketballs, Flight Time & Big Easy had no problems keeping their rabans spinning smoothly as they shuffled through the dance moves, including turns requiring a steady balance to keep the rabans upright. After a bow to punctuate their performance, the Globetrotters received their clue in second place as the crowds applauded their approval.


With Jet & Cord reeling in fish for fourth place, engaged couple Jessica & John now sat alone in the ocean growing increasingly frustrated. John had a fishing tale to tell with the one that got away, a big fish that swished away and off the hook only two feet from John’s bag. Like most fishing enthusiasts, that near miss gave Jessica & John enough hope to keep dropping bait in the water expecting to land the big one. With no luck as time went on, John questioned whether he and Jessica should switch sides of the Detour.  However, the newlyweds still remembered a previous Race, where they were eliminated in a leg where they switched detour options, so they remained perched on their stilts waiting for any nibble, even though John called this experience “a nightmare.” After the Afghanimals and country singers spun their rabans for third and fifth place respectively, the Brenchels, or more specifically Brendon, couldn’t keep his three rabans balanced throughout his and Rachel’s performance. After the eighth attempt ended with Brendon’s raban falling to the ground, he apologized to Rachel who tried to calm her flustered husband down. By the twelfth failure Rachel remained positive, telling Brendon, “Close babe. It’s okay.” The couple remarked on their role reversal compared to the first time they ran the Race. While Brendon referred to Rachel as the “motivator”, she added, “I keep it together through all of this.” Finally on the fourteenth attempt, Brendon, staring intently at his spinning rabans making sure none of them fell, completed the dance successfully with Rachel in sixth place. Falling into seventh place with still no fish caught, engaged couple Jessica & John felt too much time had slipped away and decided to switch to dancing knowing they now could be fighting for last place. Making matters worse, John’s very questionable dance skills proved a tall hurdle for the engaged couple to overcome in the beginning. After their first attempt, the judge politely asked, “Shall we try again?” With more coaching and Jessica yelling out commands, John mastered the dance on his second attempt to keep their team in seventh place.


As Margie & Luke landed in Colombo and received their blessing at the temple, teams, led by the Globetrotters and Dave & Connor descended on the Trendy Connections Garment Factory to discover a Roadblock. Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is the country’s number one money earner. In this Roadblock, teams had to properly stitch together a shirt. When the floor manager felt they buttoned it up, they could take the shirt to the heat transfer station to get their next clue printed on the front. Big Easy, Connor, and Jennifer walked onto the bustling main floor of the factory where dozens of workers sat at sewing machines, expertly stitching together clothes of all sizes and colors. Watching the demonstration of the shirt he would have to sew, Connor predicted, “This is going to be a rough Roadblock.” Connor’s only experience in sewing was limited to a class in junior high school, but that put him light years ahead of Big Easy, who later said choosing to do this was the “worst decision ever.” Picking out panels of blue fabric (a front, a back, sleeves, and white collar), the three racers sat down at their sewing machines and tried to become familiar with the equipment. Stepping on the treadle, Connor was immediately surprised at the speed of the machine as he tried to feed the fabric through to make an even, straight stitch.


With Leo and Jet joining Big Easy, Connor, and Jennifer at the sewing machines, newlyweds Brendon & Rachel entered the factory ready to perform their Speed Bump. In it, they had to apply the final layer of color to the Sri Lankan flag. Once they printed fifteen perfect tees, they could continue racing. Having silk screened before, Rachel felt confident as she and Brendon picked up the template and placed it on the first shirt. After applying maroon paint over the template and using a wedge to ensure a smooth, even coat, they removed the template to see their finished product: a failure. They didn’t line up the stencil properly resulting in an off center design on the flag so they started over again on a new shirt. With two templates between them, the newlyweds began to quickly churn out shirts with the Sri Lankan flag that met the floor manager’s approval. Although the newlyweds had some more missteps and improperly placed screens, they finally reached fifteen shirts allowing Brendon to join the other six racers at the sewing machines.


Noticing her partner’s look of uncertainty and confusion as how to fix her troubled shirt, Caroline suggested that Jennifer team up with Connor to help each other out. Jennifer loved the idea and walked over to Connor’s sewing station to compare her shirt’s collar to his. Walking over to the demonstration, the pair watched the expert sew a sample shirt hoping to gain some knowledge. The budding alliance between the two teams seemed natural since they ran the Race together previously. Connor later said, “They’re just great people. “ After a few more tweaks, a nervous Connor presented his shirt for inspection to the floor manager who rejected it citing a small problem with his collar. Then, when Jennifer offered her shirt to the floor manager, he rejected it as well because she didn’t sew a seam on the bottom hem. Once both racers made their alternations, they both received the thumbs up from the floor manager, first Connor, then Jennifer. At the heat transfer station, the teams waited for a worker to press their next clue onto the shirt, the Pit Stop at Colombo Rowing Club. In a tight race to the Pit Stop, Dave & Connor held a slim lead taking the first bus to the club with Caroline & Jennifer in a bus close behind. When the father and son momentarily ran in the wrong direction before asking a local, it appeared the country singers would finally grab an elusive first place finish, but in the end Dave & Connor reached Phil first and won $5,000 each. After finishing in second place, Caroline hugged Jennifer, telling her, “I’m so proud of you. Way to go.”


With Jet (who had never sewn before in his life) finishing his shirt in third place and Leo (who entertained the crowd with his amusing antics) sewing up fourth place, Big Easy (who arrived first) still struggled while Jessica and Brendon teamed up with each other for help. Trying to gently guide his fabric panels through the machine, Big Easy said, “I will not sew when I get home. I will leave it up to my fiancée and my mother.” Watching their partners take out stitching and trying again, Flight Time, Rachel and Jessica began to worry about Margie & Luke who just jumped off their train in Galle. In particular, Rachel became concerned about Margie’s potential sewing prowess that could easily get her and Luke back in the race. A worried Flight Time predicted that he and Big Easy would still be at the factory when Margie & Luke finally appeared. That’s when Flight Time took action. Bringing out the basketball he always travels with, Flight Time walked up and down the aisles of sewing machines delighting the workers by performing famous Globetrotter tricks like spinning the ball on his finger and circling the ball around his shoulders and back. He even included audience participation with one lucky worker who had the ball spun on his finger too. All the frivolity and entertainment lightened up Big Easy’s mood and reenergized him to focus and keep trying at the sewing machine.


A few minutes after Flight Time’s entertaining performance, Brendon attached the collar, but it was Jessica who fully completed her shirt first, out of the last three racers at the factory, for a fifth place finish with John. Although Brendon received approval from the floor manager ahead of an incredibly relieved Big Easy, the Globetrotters’ bus to the Colombo Rowing Club proved faster than the Brenchel’s three-wheeler who ended up in seventh place behind Flight Time & Big Easy. After completing a Speed Bump and surviving the leg, Rachel commented, “We’re here. We’re still racing. Brendon and I never give up.” Brendon promised, “We’re done with being at the back of the pack. We’re gonna turn it up a notch or maybe ten.” After night fell in Sri Lanka, mother and son Margie & Luke finally reached the mat at Colombo Rowing Club in last place where Phil informed them they were eliminated from the Race. Happy with experiencing the Race for a third time, Luke thanked his mother for everything she did for him. After thanking Luke back, Margie said, “We have more of an appreciation for each other and how we’re able to depend on each other. That’s worth more than a million dollars and I don’t think we appreciated that before.”


Roadblock: Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is the country’s number one money earner. In this Roadblock, teams had to properly stitch together a shirt. When the floor manager felt they buttoned it up, they could take the shirt to the heat transfer station to get their next clue printed on the front. Performed Roadblock: Big Easy, Connor, Jennifer, Leo, Jet, Brendon, Jessica

Detour: In this Detour, teams had the choice of Fishing Pole or Spin Control. Fishing Pole required teams to wade into the surf and climb onto a pair of fishing stilts. Once both team members caught a fish they had to deliver them to a hut on the shore. Spin Control required teams to learn and perform a traditional folk dance while continuing to spin drum-like instruments called rabans. Once they turned in a good performance, the lead dancer would hand them their next clue. Fishing Pole: Dave/Connor, Jet/Cord Spin Control: Flight Time/Big Easy, Leo/Jamal, Caroline/Jennifer, Brendon/Rachel, Jessica/John Speed Bump: In this Speed Bump, Brendon & Rachel had to apply the final layer of color to the Sri Lankan flag. Once they silk screened fifteen perfect tees they could continue racing.

Order of Finish: Dave & ConnorCaroline & JenniferJet & CordLeo & JamalJessica & JohnFlight Time & Big EasyBrendon & RachelMargie & Luke