Season 14: Episode 1 - Don't Let a Cheese Hit Me
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

The Amazing Race's first deaf contestant, Luke, made a strong statement by winning the first leg with his mother, Margie, as teams traveled to Locarno, Switzerland. A mistake by Christie & Jodi almost cost them the race, but a late surge by the flight attendants in a foot race to the mat sent dating couple Preston & Jennifer home instead.


The fourteenth edition of THE AMAZING RACE got off to a rousing start as U.S. Marine helicopters transported the eleven teams of two to the starting line at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, home to the California National Guard and the Army Reserve. After Phil informed the teams that there would be eight elimination Pit Stops along the way to the one million dollar prize, he wished them safe travel and officially signaled the beginning of the race.

Running to their bags in a frenzied dash, the teams excitedly ripped open their first clue instructing them to travel to Locarno, Switzerland on one of two flights. The first flight on Lufthansa departed at 3:35pm landing in Zurich. The second flight on Air France departed at 4:00pm landing in Milan. Teams would then take a train from either Zurich or Milan to the final destination of Locarno.

Leading the pack on the Lufthansa flight, which was departing first, were siblings and lawyers Tammy & Victor, explaining, "We chose the Lufthansa flight because we didn't want to deliberately choose the one that left later. The big question of the day is did we make the right decision or wrong decision?" Joining them on the flight were flight attendants Christie & Jodi, former NFL cheerleaders Jaime & Cara, brothers and stuntmen Mark & Michael, married couple Brad & Victoria, and mother and son Margie & Luke.

Father and son Mel & Mike and dating couples Preston & Jennifer and Amanda & Kris shared a shuttle into LAX and jointly decided to book the Air France flight, even though it left later, because Milan was closer to Locarno resulting in a shorter train ride. Joining them on the flight were sisters Kisha & Jen and married couple Steve & Linda. On his and his wife's lack of world travel experience, Steve noted, "It's a major hurdle that we're trying to overcome."


Landing in Zurich, the lead six teams all shared the same train to Locarno until arriving at one stop along the way. Flight attendants Christie & Jodi befriended a local woman who was also heading to Locarno. The woman told them to get off with her in order to take a faster train arriving thirteen minutes earlier. The flight attendants took a chance and snuck off the train with no other teams noticing. Jodi remarked, "We just have to do the best that we can do and not worry about what everyone else is doing."


Landing in Milan, the trailing group of five teams ran to catch their train to Locarno, but dating couple Preston & Jennifer had difficulties finding the station so they ended up alone on a later train. This brought out the worst in the pair as they began to bicker because Jennifer didn't want to be around "frustrated Preston." This caused Preston to retort, "You say stuff that irritates me because you just don't think." He added that Jennifer needed to control her mouth and wouldn't let her get the last word in their argument.

The gamble flight attendants Christie & Jodi took paid off as they arrived first in Locarno. With a comfortable lead, the women raced to the Church of San Antonio where they had to sign a register for one of three departure times the next morning: 7:15am, 7:30am, and 7:45am.

Joining Christie & Jodi for the 7:15am departure were siblings and lawyers Tammy & Victor, mother and son Margie & Luke, and brothers and stuntmen Mark & Michael. Married couple Brad & Victoria and former NFL cheerleaders Jaime & Cara settled for a 7:30am departure, along with father and son Mel & Mike who led the pack from the Air France flight from Milan. The remaining four teams, sisters, Kisha & Jen, dating couples Amanda & Kris and Preston & Jennifer, and married couple Steve & Linda, all would depart in last place at 7:45am.


At the campsite where teams bedded down for the night, Steve berated his wife, Linda, for being too slow and putting them in last place. A tearful Linda apologized, saying, "If I could've kept up better, I would've. But I'm tired." When Steve countered that everyone else was tired as well, Linda replied, "But they don't have their husbands yelling at them either." She added through the tears, "I just don't know what to do. I don't want to lose. I want to stay in this race really bad."


The following morning at 7:15am, the leading four teams received a postcard with a picture of the Verzasca Dam, their next location. Brothers and stuntmen Mark & Michael led the way followed closely by siblings and lawyers Tammy & Victor. Flight attendants Christy & Jodi's lead from the previous day disappeared when they couldn't find a taxi.

Arriving at the dam together, Mark & Michael and Tammy & Victor sprinted to the clue box where they encountered the first Roadblock of the race. In it, one team member had to perform a 70-story bungee jump, the second highest in the world, made famous in the James Bond movie "Goldeneye".

After being harnessed in and attached to the bungee cord, Victor climbed the steps to the platform overlooking the imposing concrete dam, simply repeating, "Oh my God!" With his sister Tammy offering her support, Victor waited for a countdown and then took the terrifying plunge down 70-stories screaming all the way down. After regaining his composure and stomach, he returned to his sister and they learned they needed to travel by train to town of Interlaken and find Kleine Rugen Wiese.

While most racers had normal levels of trepidation at the thought of falling 70-stories, flight attendant Jodi dreaded the task altogether. Her fear and anxiety worsened as she watched Michael, Mike, Luke, and Victoria all jump in succession with smiles on their faces. Her partner Christy cried for the position Jodi found herself in, apologizing for it and offering her support. Trying to calm herself by closing her eyes and concentrating, Jodi said, "I cannot believe I am about to do that." When her turn came, Jodi walked to the ledge, telling the instructor how nervous she felt, but without another word, she dove off the ledge and plummeted silently until the bungee cord snapped her back up. On the way back up, Jodi said, "Thank God that's over."


Siblings and lawyers Tammy & Victor hopped on an early train to Interlaken along with father and son Mel & Mike, brothers and stuntmen Mark & Michael, and mother and son Margie & Luke. Trailing, flight attendants Christie & Jodi met up with married couple Brad & Victoria at the train station. Faced with the option of traveling through Lucerne or Italy, the flight attendants chose the Lucerne train that was leaving in a matter of minutes at 9:39am, assuming Brad & Victoria would make the same choice. However, once the flight attendants walked off, Brad bought tickets for the train through Italy that departed later, at 10:50am, but would arrive in Interlaken earlier than the Lucerne train. The married couple snuck off out of sight as the flight attendants boarded the Lucerne train alone. As the train snaked its way through Switzerland, Christie & Jodi realized that Brad & Victoria had lied to them, and that they most likely now had ground to make up. I AM THE CHEESE Arriving in Interlaken, the four leading teams ran to Kleine Rugen Wiese where they learned they had to choose a pair of traditional antique cheese racks, and climb to the top of the very steep hill. Once at the top, teams had to transport 200 pounds of cheese from an aging shed down to the bottom of the hill. The climb up the hill proved arduous for several racers. Margie described how slippery it was from mud and animal droppings, while Mel contracted an injury to his groin muscle from the steep ascent. At the top, things didn't improve as teams struggled in deciding how many 50-pound cheese wheels to take at a time. While Victor tied two wheels onto his rack, his sister Tammy settled for one, as did Margie & Luke. As soon as racers began gingerly walking down the slippery steep hillside, they fully understood how difficult this task would be when their racks began breaking from the weight of the cheese. Margie's wheel went rolling across the hill followed by Victor's. Luke lost his balance and ran wildly before falling down, smashing his cheese rack, and sending his wheel of cheese through a fence. Diminutive Mark appeared trapped by his cheese rack that was almost the same size as him, until it broke as well. Eventually, teams began to muscle through the task by simply carrying the cumbersome and heavy wheels of cheese any way they could. Mel simply slid down the hill on his backside with the cheese in his lap while his son stood upright. Siblings Tammy & Victor kept up the pace with mother and son Margie & Luke, who led the pack in getting their four cheese wheels down the hill. Opening their clues, the two teams discovered they had to travel to the town of Stechelberg, and find the last postal bus stop, where the sound of singing yodelers would lead them to the Pit Stop. VICTORIOUS Pulling up to the bus stop nearly together, Margie & Luke and Tammy & Victor searched for the Pit Stop where the Swiss yodelers stood with Phil. Margie was slightly more successful in the search, and she and Luke landed on the mat in a very tearful victory where Phil signed, "You are team number one!" Afterwards, Phil informed the team they had won a trip for two from Travelocity to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Overwhelmed with emotion, Luke said, "A lot of people think deaf people can't do things, but the deaf can do it. I just want to show people that deaf people can do it." As teams from the second train began to slowly trudge up the hill to the aging shed, flight attendants Christie & Jodi stepped off their train in last place hoping to catch up. Their hope became more real when they arrived at Kleine Rugen Wiese to see Linda struggling to make it up the hill as Steve pleaded with her. Jennifer had her own problems keeping up with boyfriend Preston, panting, "That was the most strenuous climb." LAST CHANCE Flight attendants Christie & Jodi refused to give up hope, even as teams began to finish stacking their cheese after a long arduous trek down the slippery incline. Female power reigned as sisters Kisha & Jen, and former NFL cheerleaders Jaime & Cara mustered the strength to finish the leg in seventh and eighth place respectively. Steve shrewdly turned his rack into a sled and slid three wheels of cheese down the hill to gain an advantage over other teams, saying, "We didn't get here by being idiots." That gain was quickly erased when he and Linda couldn't find the Pit Stop, but the couple happily accepted a ninth place finish. Preston & Jennifer barely edged out Christie & Jodi in stacking their cheese, but the dating couple couldn't find the yodelers as they searched frantically for the origin of the singing voices. Christie & Jodi pulled up in their taxi with one last chance to pull ahead. The two teams turned directions, spotted Phil, and broke into a sprint for the mat. The flight attendants proved to be faster, stealing victory from the jaws of defeat, as the slower Jennifer had to jump on Preston's back to finish the leg. When the dating couple hit the mat, Phil informed the pair they had been eliminated from the race. On his partner's performance, Preston remarked, "I know she did as much as she could. It was frustrating at times." Jen added, "Even though we fight and we bicker, we love each other. I do want to spend the rest of my life with Preston." 1401 ROUTE MARKERS Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one person can perform. In this Roadblock, that team member had to perform a 70-story bungee jump, the second highest in the world. Performed Roadblock: VICTOR, MICHAEL, MIKE, VICTORIA, JODI, JAMIE, KRIS, PRESTON, JEN, STEVE, LUKE Detour: N/A Order of Finish: 1. Margie & Luke 2. Tammy & Victor 3. Mark & Michael 4. Mel & Mike 5. Amanda & Kris 6. Brad & Victoria 7. Jaime & Cara 8. Kisha & Jen 9. Steve & Linda 10. Christie & Jodi 11. Preston & Jennifer