01/07/2018 Adventure, Travels

From the Cutting Room Floor – TAR 30 .1

The Amazing Race Season 30 Episode 1: “You’re A Champion, Prove It” – #TeamExtreme Recap

WOW!!!! I can’t believe the time is finally here. Amazing Race 30 made its debut last Wednesday night (1/3/18) and ***SPOILER ALERT*** Kristi & I couldn’t be more proud to have taken home the W on the first leg of the race! My heart was beating so fast watching it last night that I felt like we were running the race all over again! I’ve been excited to see the edit for months now (I do realize we didn’t have to wait nearly as long as most other seasons) and was curious to see how they fit all that action into 45 minutes of television. If you do the math, that’s only 4 minutes per team in the first episode…

Unfortunately, that’s a tough task! The production team for the Amazing Race is absolutely extraordinary, but there is no way to introduce America to 11 teams and fit in an entire competitive leg of the race. For Kristi and me, this made us appear to be out for a casual walk in the park and conveniently landed on the mat in first place. Haha! However, there is a LOT more that goes on behind the scenes. During our viewing party last night, friends were asking some common questions, so I figured I’d share my insights into what went on. Like, how we got to that first route marker in 5th place and worked our way to the front of the pack.

How did you get from NYC to Iceland?

One minor detail that this episode didn’t discuss was that there were in fact 2 different flights to Iceland. As we left Washington Square Park it was a race to the airport to get on the first flight which would land 30 minutes ahead of the 2nd flight. We didn’t know how many seats were on that first flight (turned out there was room for 7 teams) and we were lucky to get to the airport first and secure our seats. Flight 1 was Jody, Indy, OceanRescue, the Twins, Yale and GoatYoga. Flight 2 was NBA, RingGirls, Well-Strung and Hot Dog.

We took a red-eye flight out of JFK and turns out there was no food on flight #1, but flight #2 did have food (lucky ducks!). I don’t think we landed a full 30 minutes ahead of those other 4 teams, but we definitely did have a solid head start. However, head-starts disappear quickly when you’re too rushed to stop and get a map during a self-drive leg, you don’t have your own cellphone to use for navigation, you hand-drew a map from someone’s computer, but drew the map and wrote down directions starting at the domestic airport,Β which was 45 minutes closer to our final destination than the international airport where we actually flew into… and then, you take a wrong turn when you already don’t know where you are.


These were the directions that we wrote down using someone’s computer in the JFK airport, starting from the domestic airport in Reykjavik…

These were the directions that we actually needed starting from the international airport… without getting lost, the trip should have taken 2 h 17 mins, which is 30 mins longer than what we had been expecting, which made us feel like we were more lost than we really were…

You can try this yourself by looking for Reykjavik Airport (domestic airport) and Keflavik Airport (international airport). Get directions to Husafell. where we were was a bit beyond Husafell, but this will give you a general idea of the route. Not to mention, the road signs in Iceland are very confusing (they show business routes differently, so I kept seeing signs for route 1 pointing in every direction and couldn’t figure out which Route 1 I was supposed to be on). What you don’t realize is that, without a cellphone or map, if you get off course a little bit from your handwritten directions, you get VERY DISORIENTED, which led to the following:

Thanks, CBS, for keeping this out of our edit πŸ™‚ and Kristi, again, I’m sorry I yelled at you, especially because YOU WERE RIGHT and I was wrong. So, despite finding our car quickly and heading off with Yale and OceanRescue, we ended up lost and got to the first challenge in 5th place. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge NBA for their phenomenal navigational skills because they beat us to that first Route Marker challenge despite being on flight #2.

It seemed like you made it through that first challenge quickly? T/F

True. But you could only gain so much time because there were only two zip-line stations. We got there as IndyCar was going out on the line, but had to wait for them to finish before we could begin. Kristi was smart enough to realize that it would be easier if we sent the lighter person out on the line (aka: Kristi), which was advantageous. She didn’t drop the line as far as some of the heavier competitors which made it easier to pull her back in. Plus, I understood the dynamics of using my leg strength in addition to my upper body to pull her in.

What was so hard about the buggy challenge?

Well, first of all, we haven’t slept for, um, I don’t know 30 hours or something… secondly, no food for nearly the same amount of time, third, you have a dude driving you in a buggy around a course filled with puddles and it is his intention to drive insanely fast and ACCELERATE into the puddles, which then splashes all over you while you’re trying to spot letters in random locations, out of order, that have numbers on them and you can’t write anything down. I was happy to see the edit and realize that Henry and I took the same approach. We both repeated sounds out loud to help us remember the order. We also asked the driver to slow down, so that we could get our bearings. To which his response was, “No, I’m not allowed.” It was like the movie Speed.

Ultimately, I made 3 laps down in the river bed and still hadn’t found 2 of the letters, but it was the first two letters _ _ GOLFSTORG. So I was riding round chanting, golfstorg to myself for a few more minutes until I decided to go try my hand at the puzzle. I had everything right and decide that ‘IN’GOLFTORG sounded more Icelandic than ‘NI’GOLFSTORG, so I guessed, and fortunately got it right. Picking up 2 places, putting us in 3rd on our way to the square.

What was up with those shots??

Well, as you saw, Kristi and I each had to take a shot of either Cod Liver Oil or Brennivin, which they also maybe call “Fire Wine” but there is nothing wine-like about it. Apparently. I wouldn’t know because I drank the cod liver oil. However, the people who drank the Brennivin said that it was more like rubbing alcohol than wine. It burned something fierce, and caused several people to either vomit or nearly vomit. Kristi fell into the “nearly” category along with Conor. We’ll spare details.

How did you end up in first??

I’m still not sure what happened to Henry & Evan on their way to the square, but I assume they must’ve gotten lost along the way…? Kristi and I decided to stop and write down detailed directions from someone’s phone – we still didn’t have a map. This paid off, despite being a 10-minute stop, because we didn’t get lost going to the square. We found our answers to the questions easily by asking locals. We used the same approach to find the pit stop. Ask-a-local is to the Amazing Race as phone-a-friend is to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. We got solid information from our local friend and I saw the lake as we were driving to the square. So, we made our way to the Pit-Stop pretty quickly.

Kristi and I truly believed we were in no better than 3rd place when we landed on that mat. We were absolutely thrilled, shocked, honored and proud when Phil told us we won the leg! The Amazing Race isn’t simply about not making mistakes (though that would be nice), but about recovering quickly when you do. Not a single team ran a flawless race this leg. Some excelled at navigating and struggled in the challenges, others struggled navigating and excelled at the challenges. In the end, we seemed to mitigate our issues better than our competition. We leaned into each other’s strengths and even managed to learn from mistakes within the leg to help us reach the pit stop first. The timing of our issues allowed us to continue to climb the ladder instead of fall further behind. Leg 1 carried with it some HUGE learning opportunities that we carried into Leg 2.

Other questions received:

Why were #TheRingGirls and #GoatYoga carrying those bags?

Production gave us some gear to wear in some of the challenges (boots, rain jackets, wool socks, hat, gloves, etc.). Our additional information told us to bring all our belongings with us when we park the car in Ingolfstorg. These ladies took that a bit literally… Kristi and I put the boots on our feet, tied our sneakers to our bag and left everything else behind. We already had clothes for cold weather, so we didn’t need the products they provided. Given that we weren’t sure if we’d be doing more tasks in Iceland the next leg, we chose to keep the boots. We didn’t keep them for the rest of Amazing Race, however.

23 responses to “From the Cutting Room Floor – TAR 30 .1”

  1. George Lee says:

    Well done Jen and good luck with the Race, you looked great out there! George Lee

  2. Ellie says:

    Seriously hope you beat Cody & Jessica! Curious to know your opinion of them. Cheers on a well-run race! You have many supporters!

  3. Jane says:

    Just wanted to let you know that your blog is being linked in a Big Brother thread so you’re going to be getting a LOT of anti-Jody people commenting things like “you better beat Jess/Cody they suck!”. It’s so sad, it’s 2018 if you hate Jody so much then why watch them on TAR? Big Brother is over.

    • jenhudak says:

      Thanks for the heads up. I didn’t watch Big Brother, still haven’t, and what I know of Jess & Cody is what I know for the real interactions that I’ve had with them. We got along great during the race. Jess and I both shared over some personal loss in our life and the way they ran the race, they’ve given me no reason to dislike them. But, we all know that when we sign up for a competitive reality TV show there are certain things we have no control over.

      • Emily says:

        Great blog post, Jen. I hope you keep this up for every episode. I’m personally rooting for Extreme, Jody, and Indy but honestly, all the teams are likable and respectable!

  4. Jaxon says:

    ^ What she said.

  5. Jj says:

    People are weird why comment about Jess and Cody when it has nothing to do with them y’all need lives πŸ’―πŸ’― spreading hate for no reason

  6. Sally Francklyn says:

    Proud of you guys for both competing! I know your athleticism and strength will make you some of the top competitors. Go get ’em!

  7. Jenna says:

    Rooting for you and Kristi! I hope you guys win. We need another female-female team to take it all!

  8. Anna says:

    Nice work ladies! We’re cheering for Team Extreme!

  9. RaceUntilWeDie says:

    Eagerly waiting for the next post! Loved learning some behind-the-scenes info.

  10. MaF says:

    As other have said, great post and I hope you can continue for the rest of the race. I love the glimpse into what actually happened as we all know it is impossible to fit everything into a 43 minute episode.

  11. David says:

    I have been looking into the details of the first leg. Did the route information give you the specific location of “Husafell”? Everything that I have found points me to a location that is 3.5 hours away East from airport. If that is the case, I really wish that they would announce that stuff. I’m kind of a geek when it comes to this show, as I enjoy plotting the locations on the map. Great job on the first leg

    • jenhudak says:

      It gave us very general information, like “off of Route 1, on 580” or something like that. We were able to find it on google maps in the JFK airport. It was 2.5 hours away north east of the international airport. Thanks for the props! It was a tough one!

  12. Catherine Wickham says:

    Hi Jen! I am a huge fan of the amazing race and this season is starting out great. Loved reading your recap but I need to know where you got the hat you were wearing on the mat at the end!?!? πŸ™‚

  13. Bruce says:

    You two are an awesome team! We’re really enjoying this season. (Sorry to see Well Strung out tonight – they seem like good guys.)

    • jenhudak says:

      Thank you, Bruce!! We were sad to see Well-Strung go as well. It sucks that things got so mixed up in France and this was the first time that start time actually mattered. They went out with class, but will be missed. Not only are they strong, they’re smart & kind. Love those guys to pieces!

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