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02/25/2018 Adventure, Travels

From the Cutting Room Floor – TAR 30.11.12

The Amazing Race, Season 30, Episodes 11 & 12: “It’s Just A Million Dollars, No Pressure” – #TeamExtreme Recap

To put our experience on The Amazing Race into words is a near impossible task. The feelings of pride and joy, of disappointment, of overwhelm, and of gratitude, are welling inside of us and will be for weeks to come. But the outpouring of love and support that we have received following the final episode has truly been beyond comprehension. We set out to accomplish a difficult goal and that goal allowed us to spread a message far and wide, that women can be strong, smart, kind, and relentless. The Amazing Race gave us an incredible opportunity not only for that message to be heard, but received. For that, we are eternally grateful.

Kristi and I traveled to 8 countries that we’ve never been to, we got to experience new cultures, eat some different cuisine (ahem, scorpions), step outside our comfort zones, and push ourselves to the limit for 23 straight days. It was an experience that I’ll remember for a lifetime and I was lucky to take it all on with Kristi by my side. While the final two legs of this race presented some challenges and the final result wasn’t entirely what we set out for, we are still extremely honored to have finished this season with the lowest average of any all-female team in The Amazing Race US franchise. As a team, we never fell below 3rd place, a feat that has never been achieved by any team, male, female, or combined. It’s a badge that we hold with great pride. Read on for our final recap and reflections of The Amazing Race Season 30.

Leg 11: Hong Kong

Where did your taxi take you when going to the Peak?

For the second leg in a row, we had some misfortune with our cab driver. The language barrier was thick, and our cab driver unfortunately took us to the pedestrian access area. We saw a sign that pointed to Victoria Peak (an 8-minute walk), so we decided to hoof it as our cabby was having a difficult time simply turning around. We just said, “you stay here and get turned around, we’ll be right back!” I left my bag in the cab and pointed at it to make sure he understood.

The fortunate part about getting lost on our way there was that we were halfway down the mountain when it was time to race back to the detour! Haha! Also, I don’t think Indy or Jody were able to retain their taxis at Victoria Peak, so that gave us an advantage getting to the detour cluebox. That’s how we were able to catch up to those two teams.

What was so difficult about tying those crabs?

The crab challenge was deceptively difficult. First of all, learning how to pick up the crabs and not get pinched, then wrangle all their legs, then wrap the tie around them without a leg getting loose, was a tall-order! When we watched the demo we were told that we didn’t need to do it the exact way, so we were perhaps a bit hasty when we started tying the crabs.

After a bit of difficulty we went back to rewatch the demo. That’s when we started figuring out a better technique. There was a trick to twisting the rope (like when you’re tying a present) so that it doesn’t come loose when you change direction of the wrap. Unfortunately, the crabs that we tied at the beginning all came loose since they were wriggling to try to get free (poor little dudes). So we had about 15 crabs to retie out of 50.

Why didn’t you switch detours?

Well, I suppose I should start with why we picked crabs in the first place. After our choice of detours (and switching detours) in Thailand, we felt like the crabs might be more straight forward. Especially knowing that Henry spoke some Mandarin (yes, I know that the restaurant challenge was in Cantonese) we felt that they may have an advantage. Kristi and I weren’t racing to play safe and stay in it anymore. We were racing for a win.

When we switched detours in Thailand, we ended up quite far behind the other teams, so we felt it was a smarter choice to stay with the crabs. Certainly, that wasn’t the case here, as Indy switched detours and still got out of the restaurant before Big Brother or Team Extreme.

What were you thinking when you saw Big Brother leave the boat?

We were freaking out. Well, I was freaking out. We knew that Indy Car switched detours. We knew we had been working on crabs for a LONGGGGGGGGGG time, we arrived to the boat slightly in front of Big Brother, so for them to overtake us was a terrible feeling. But there was nothing else we could do at that point. Kristi was staying more optimistic at this point and redirected my negative thoughts. We had about 12 more crabs to untie and retie when they left, so we just hunkered down. Kristi was less fearless with the crabs, so she did all the untying and then I’d start retying them as efficiently as possible. Our only option was to stay calm and finish strong.

How about when you got to the Roadblock?

Ugh. After we left the crab detour, we just kept saying, “we hope there is another challenge that can be an equalizer.” Something akin to the song and dance in Zimbabwe, something skill based, that we might be able to gain time on. When we go to the roadblock and realized that it was a pure brute strength task and that Kristi basically had to go up against Cody, we were discouraged. We could hear Cody grunting. If it was hard for him, it was going to be really hard for us. That said, Kristi crushed it.

The reverberations through the bat into her hand caused sever pain, swelling and bruising. For two months after the race, she would wake up in the middle of the night with shooting pain in her hands. She broke two bats during that final challenge and bent a third. I was blown away by Kristi’s fight through this challenge. It was so painful for her. Also, forgetting to read her clue barely affected the timing. She still had more bashing too do once she read her clue. When I saw BB leave, I started a timer on my watch. We were about 13 minutes behind them when we left the Roadblock, which was about the same gap leaving the crabs. We were just hoping our next clue didn’t say “go to the pit stop.”

How did you miss the Arch from Washington Square Park?

The first two images we found (the bull and the fez) had the colors of the race, so we were looking for yellow and red. We were repeating the locations of each leg to try to conjure images. Where we failed is we kept thinking Iceland for leg 1. We neglected to think about the fact that we started leg 1 in New York. When we saw that arc we thought it was l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which we hadn’t been to. Looking at that black and white arch didn’t register a THING! Now had it been yellow & red? Potentially a different story…

As for us being dismissive of the guy pointing the sign out to us, we were convinced he was drunk and had no clue… I mean, he was drunk, but apparently he had a clue! That was a big miss on our part. There were so many drunk people in this area. It was quite a mess of scene. Another drunk guy had given us terrible directions earlier, so we were a bit hesitant to trust anyone.

How did you finally solve the combination?

This was a point of contention for Kristi and I. We found the bull and the fez in less than 10 minutes of arriving at Lan Kwai Fong. Kristi had been trying combinations, in a systematic order in the cab. At this point, having two of the three numbers wouldn’t have taken long to figure out. Unfortunately, we abandoned that strategy after a few failed attempts.

It can be hard to maintain your composure under that much pressure and stress. Kristi had just been put through the wringer in the Roadblock and I was trying to be sensitive to her wishes. Ultimately, it led me to unfairly implode. I just wanted to try numbers in a methodical way in case there was something weird with the locks. There wasn’t. Eventually, I agreed to letting her try it her way and she was right. You didn’t have to do both sides at the same time. And we got the combination: 3-1-5.

Did you know you were in 3rd place and ahead of Indy when you got to the mat?

We were hopeful, but we weren’t sure. We hadn’t seen Indy for about 10-15 minutes prior to getting our combination unlocked, so we knew there was a possibility that they had gotten out of there ahead of us. We also had no idea we were running to the pit stop, so we hadn’t been thinking about our placement that much, we just continued focusing on racing. That’s why it was so important for me to hug Kristi before Phil said a word. I just needed her to know that I loved her, that she was the best partner on this race, and that I was proud of everything she had done, regardless of the outcome.

We were devastated to see Indy get eliminated. It was a sad moment for us. We got very close with them during our time on the race and wanted to race in the final leg with them. But things can turn at any point in this race and unfortunately, this was the end for them.

Leg 12: San Francisco

Why was it hard to find the balls with the right numbers on them?

When we first paddled out to the cove, there were already hundreds of balls in water. All of us started paddling around, grabbing baseballs, trying to find some with numbers. They were all blank. At some point, Kristi noticed that there were balls splashing into the water from the ball park above. Really paying homage to Willie Mays & his home runs!

Both Kristi and I have paddling experience, so we positioned ourselves at the back of the cove facing the stadium. When we saw a new ball fly out of the stadium we paddled there efficiently. We knew the exact numbers we were looking for, but it still took some time to find them all.

You were first to get the number correct, but you made it to the bridge second. What happened?

The other teams figured that the only numbered balls would be numbers you needed in the answer. Unfortunately for us, Yale & BB got lucky in more than one way. Yale had found two 6s before they even knew the number they were looking for.  And, somehow BB managed to ask someone on the pier in the middle of the night to look up the answer for them. They managed to find their numbers quite quickly after that!

When we got our number approved by the umpire, he told us to “go to your team zodiac before you open your clue.” There were no instructions about getting into the Zodiac. There were no instructions on what to do or where to go next. Nothing in our Roadblock clue, nothing in our ARI clue. We thought we had to paddle back to the pier and started to do so, until we saw BB getting into their Zodiac. Sooooo, that sucked. That’s when Jessica and Cody jumped in front of us on the way to the Bay Bridge.

Did Kristi gain on Cody climbing the bridge?

The ascender wasn’t just about strength. There was a lot of technique to it as well. Kristi made up some ground on Cody during the climb. She was less than 2 minutes behind him in the end. We started a timer (again) to figure out our lead on Yale as well. It’s good to know what kind of time advantage you do or do not have. It was only about 12 minutes, so it wasn’t a comfortable lead, but a lead none-the-less.

How did you pass Big Brother?

As I said on twitter, apparently we can now put Fortune-Cookie-Making into the life-skills-we-posses category. Haha! I don’t know where that skill came from, but I was grateful to have it. We had no idea how far in front of other teams we were when we finished, we just knew we needed to get moving Asap.

The cookies were coming straight off the press, so they were HOT! Kristi was the first one to start and wasn’t using gloves. It was definitely burning her fingertips, but she wasn’t about to stop to put on gloves. In watching her, she was moving much more efficiently than Cody, who was wearing gloves. I figured the gloves were impeding his dexterity. Regardless, I decided to start with gloves on, since taking them off would be faster than stopping to put them on. But I was having a hard time grabbing the fortunes, so I ditched one glove.

What happened in that final challenge?

When Kristi and opened our clue, here is what we read: “Search the U.S.S. Hornet to find 12 airplane parts. Then, ONE of you must assemble your plane to show one image from each leg of the race. When you think your plane is “properly assembled,” ask the Captain to check your work. If it’s correct, he’ll clear you for takeoff.”  We read through the additional information and immediately kicked into high-gear to search for the parts. We were thrilled to see that this was the final memory challenge and that our strategy worked to put me in the position of solving the puzzle.

I have a mechanical mind, so when asked to “properly assemble” a plane, I instantly took took this to be a two part challenge. 1) Build a functional plane and 2) solve a puzzle with the images. Unfortunately, my ultimate failure was in paying too much attention to the first part, because in the end structural plane assembly didn’t matter. The big wings were actually dimensional meaning they had a thick edge, what’s known as a “leading edge,” that faces forward on a plane.  I therefore quickly deduced that I had two left wings and two right wings, which should have helped me solve the puzzle even more quickly.  This was my fatal error.

Compare this to the pieces for the tail wings. They were constructed on flat panels of wood and could all be interchangeable. Any of them could have gone on the left and any of them could have gone on the right, from a functional standpoint.

In the end the only thing that mattered were the images.  In fact to “properly assemble” the plane, I had to put two left wings on it.  One wing facing forward and one facing backwards.  A possibility I didn’t even consider until an hour or more after the others had finished and I had deemed the challenge impossible.  See below:

Why was it a plane if the only thing that mattered was the puzzle? How could a plane with two left wings be cleared for takeoff? Why was I the only one to notice the dimensions? These are questions I repeatedly ask myself and questions I cannot answer.

Admittedly, it’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but in the end I can confidently say I have absolutely no regrets.  Short of wishing for a new brain, there is no amount of studying or preparation that would have made me interpret that clue any differently. There’s nothing I could have changed or done better. Kristi and I are so proud that we got to compete in every leg of The Amazing Race. It was an opportunity we had only dreamed of, and we couldn’t be more thankful to everyone that made it possible.  We had the trip of a lifetime. We are thrilled for Jessica and Cody, and continue to send them our heart felt congratulations.

Oh, and since I know there’s just enough other nerds out there like me, here’s the breakdown of my plane parts. I drew it as soon as I got home to try to figure out if I had missed something. I had not…

General Race Questions:

How many times during the race does luck of cab driver come into play? How many times did it benefit or hurt you?

Cab drivers are always a variable. Any time you need to use public transportation with a driver (taxi, songthaew, tuk-tuk), there is luck involved. We had seen so many seasons of this show where strong teams ended up eliminated because they got a bad cab. We didn’t want to be one of those teams. After our bad cab in Morocco, we made sure to always get a map of our location so I could be navigating along with our driver to ensure that he/she was taking us where we needed to go. Here’s the breakdown:

Belgium: Indifferent, not great, but not stellar. Still should have kept him at the Roadblock.

Morocco: Bad. Got out of there as fast as humanly possible.

Prague: Good. Best cab driver that we had the whole time. Kept him the entire leg. We profiled a few drivers to find a young driver who was more likely to have a cell phone and speak English. It helped for the former. Wish we could tip him more!

Zimbabwe (Imire): Bad (from Train station in Marondera to Imire). Despite production providing us all with vehicles, our driver was super slow. We were ~7 minutes behind all the other teams until Indy car’s suspension went out and Ocean Rescue passed the Safari vehicles.

Zimbabwe (Harare): Good. He knew just enough English to get by, also knew Harare quite well. Combined with my neurotic obsession with using his phone on google maps, we were able to sneak in front of some teams. Kept our driver the rest of the leg.

Thailand: Bad. Would have gotten out if we had stayed in the city, but had no other option. Didn’t speak any English. Didn’t have a navigational device. Didn’t know where either Detour location was despite me showing him on a map.

Hong Kong: Mixed. Started off bad, but stayed with us the rest of the night. Once we were back in the city, he was a lot better.

San Francisco: Indifferent. Made no difference in the outcome of our race. We were just glad we found him so quickly leaving the cookie factory. Still wish I could tip him more.

Did you know people were intentionally trying to give you wrong directions?

We didn’t know at the time, but when the race ended, we learned that there were quite a few Big Brother fans out there trying to mislead Kristi and I. Jess and Cody’s fan base protect them like it is their life’s duty. When they were tracking us around the world, a lot of their fans would gripe about how much they disliked us (simply because we kept doing decently and seemed to be sticking around). In both Hong Kong and San Francisco people attempted to give us wrong directions. Fortunately, Kristi and I have enough common sense to realize that what they were telling us didn’t make any sense with what we were trying to solve and where we were trying to go.

If you had the opportunity would you do the race again?

100% without hesitation, YES, OF COURSE WE WOULD! Regardless of all the ups and downs, the difficulty along the way, the trip up on the final challenge, this was the experience of a lifetime. It tops the list as the coolest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of cool things in this blessed life of mine.

What was the hardest task you had to perform during the entire race?

Jen: You really need to ask? The final challenge. It was physically demanding to find all the pieces of the plane, it was mentally exhausting trying to figure out the puzzle. It would have been difficult even if the wings weren’t tripping me up.

Kristi: The TV’s in Hong Kong were by far the most difficult.  Some of the TV’s were from the 50’s or 60’s and were exactly like hitting brick walls.  I hit them dozens of times as hard as I possibly could only for the bat to bounce right back into my face sending reverberations straight though my hands.  I actually broke 3 bats, including a metal one trying to break through those TV’s.  When I got home I went for an X Ray because the pain in my hands took weeks to subside.  It’s the only challenge where I felt a disadvantage to the men on the other teams.

When did you feel most proud of your partner during the race?

Jen: I felt most proud of Kristi when I watched her doing the Roadblock in Hong Kong. She was in so much pain, there was nothing I could do to help and she never gave up. That would have been a really easy moment to throw in the towel, to say “I’m done.” But she never did. She just battled on. And honestly, when I was watching her build that trebuchet in Chataeux Les Baux. She was up against 7 guys and got out of there in 2nd place. It was a shining moment. I was so proud.

Kristi: Gosh, I feel like we passed other teams every time Jen did a Roadblock.  She was brilliant in Iceland, Morocco, Prague, and she definitely carried our team in Thailand.  I was proud of her in all those moments, but I was actually most proud after the finale was over. Despite frustration Jen accepted the defeat with grace and humility and I am so proud of her for that.

How does it feel to know so many fans were rooting for you to win?

Jen: It feels incredible. On one hand I do still feel like I let people down, but on the other hand, I feel completely humbled by how much fans respected how we ran this race. We’re honored. The greatest gift we could possibly get out of this experience was the chance to inspire even just one person. Money can never top that.

Kristi: It’s truly touching.  The letters from fans have certainly been the best part of taking of the race.  The messages explaining that we’ve inspired people, and especially women to be more fearless and face life’s challenges is the greatest gift we could ever receive.

And, for one last time, THANK YOU for being a part of this journey! We were blessed to experience The Amazing Race and sharing it with you has made it that much better. I hope each of you can find a little inspiration to dig deep when it matters, to pursue your life’s purpose, shoot for your wildest dreams and break down barriers around you. YOU inspire US. So thank you. The World Is Waiting.

 

44 responses to “From the Cutting Room Floor – TAR 30.11.12”

  1. Sy Amp says:

    I know been in the public eye and having a role model title put on you is a pressure not everyone signs up for. But it’s even more impressive when people step in this role and accept it and lead by example and that’s what you two have done. From the women in the race (Jess, Evan, Brittany) vocally expressing how they respect and admire you to all the women and little girls in the world watching and emulating you.jess and Cody won the prize but your calling to this race was more than the money. BE INSPIRATIONAL and CONTINUE Being AUTHENTIC.

    • jenhudak says:

      Syllas, I truly cannot thank you enough for this message. It was an honor to step into this role and I know Kristi and I will continue to carry this message forward. All the best to you and yours!

  2. Sy Amp says:

    I have become a fan…and yes I can be a fan of Jody and TeamExtreme. I have two little boys and your sheer strength, determination and grace in defeat is something EVERYONE can learn from, not just girls.

  3. Jason says:

    Hi Jen and Kristi,
    What an amazing race you ran! It was heart-breaking to watch that final segment of the last episode. I was rooting whole-heartedly for you to win. You’ve definitely earned the respect of me and all Race fans. It’s great to hear you confirm that no other team in history had finished in the Top 3 of every single leg! (not counting that partner-switch thing, which I don’t think should count anyway) I’ve watched every single episode of every season, and I suspected that to be true, though I wasn’t certain. Anyway, I’d love to see you on another season … perhaps alongside some of the other awesome female teams of recent seasons? (Team Candy, the Cheerleaders, the Bikers …)

    • jenhudak says:

      Thank you, Jason! We would love to be back and to race alongside fellow strong women. It was an absolute pleasure to get to run this race and we’ll be back in an instant if given the opportunity.

  4. Kira Tebbe says:

    It was an absolute joy to watch you guys throughout the race! You guys were incredible smart, persistent, compassionate, and never sacrificed your integrity or dignity. I was so so nervous watching you guys in the last leg and felt your pain with the plane assembly – you have incredible resilience, too!

  5. Jay says:

    I was supporting both of you from day one and the hardest thing about that finale for me to watch was not you guys coming in third but when you said you let people down. You guys may not have won the money but you brought inspiration to so many women and girls and that’s huge. You two are one of the clearest examples I have ever seen of the fact that women can do anything they want to if they just try. I really hope they do bring you back for an allstar season – if anyone was to be considered an “allstar” it would be you and Kristi. You two were amazing the entire race! Also, for what it’s worth, I totally would’ve got tripped up on the right/left wing thing. Especially if you are trying to get a plane cleared for takeoff! You guys did great and in my opinion you let no one down!

    • jenhudak says:

      Thank you, Jay!! We certainly hope to make it back for All-Stars and really appreciate the endorsement! Glad to know I’m not alone with the left wing/right wing thing!

  6. Lauralee Parker says:

    You and Kristi were my favorite team of all time! Your intelligence matched your physical excellence proving you can have it all! More importantly though, your kindness and gentle spirits is what won our hearts and made all the other teams love you as well. Women need role models like yourselves who not only inspire them to succeed but who show them the strength of character it takes to do so and to do it well. Thank you!
    I certainly hope you can return for the All Stars…maybe you can teach them a thing or two about what a real plane looks like 😉

    • jenhudak says:

      We can only hope about the airplane! Haha! Lauralee, thank you for your kind words. It feels incredible to know that what Kristi and I stand for has resonated with viewers at home. Fingers crossed for all-stars. We’ll certainly say YES if the opportunity presents.

  7. Kim Casstevens says:

    Congratulations on a great race!! I know we will be seeing you again on TAR.

  8. Dana says:

    Hi Jen!

    I seriously loved you two in the Amazing Race! As a young female attorney, you both inspire me as female competitors who kicked butt throughout the race but also showed such grace and humility in every leg. I loved the strength and courage you portrayed as well as the determination you brought in every leg. It shows that women can bring the heat! Thank you for being an inspiration to woman but also show that no matter what the task is (especially Kristi kicking butt in the tv challenge), woman can rock it! Thank you again, and woman power to the both of you!

    Best,

    Dana

    • jenhudak says:

      Hi Dana!! Thank you so much for your message!! Women can bring the heat 🙂 keep being you, step into your strength and power! And much respect to you for taking on an ambitious career.

      All the best, right back atcha!

  9. Beckett says:

    Hi Jen! I think I speak for many Amazing Race fans who think of your team as one of our all time favorites. The way both of you raced this season is what I imagine many previous racers have tried to aspire to and probably fell short of. A few questions if I may:

    1) When and not if you go on Amazing Race All Stars, do you think you will have a bigger target on your backs especially when it comes to uturns?

    2) Do you think your teams performance along with Indycar will inspire other athletes to audition or at least be willing to be recruited for the Amazing Race? Especially athletes who are a bit wary of the reality TV process?

    3) You’ve mentioned watching many previous seasons of the race. What task(s) would you specifically have wanted to try and which task(s) are you thankful that the tptb didn’t implement a “switchback” for your season?

    Thanks again and I hope to see you and Kristi on the next All Stars season!

    • jenhudak says:

      Thanks, Beckett!! That is about the hugest complement we could receive! It’s hugely appreciated.

      1. Yes, I do think that teams will see us a threat and we could have a larger target on our backs. We were somewhat casual with alliances and were not aggressive with the use of u-turns this season, but I do think we’ll have to adjust that if we make it back for All-Stars or Unfinished Business. I think the difference there, is that when it’s your second go-around, everyone is very much aware that it’s a game and that nothing is personal.

      2. I hope that our performance on the race will encourage anyone who is a fan of the show (athlete or not) to audition. It truly is the experience of a lifetime and I encourage any and every one to apply if they’re interested. That said, it is a huge commitment and you have to be willing to subject yourself to the whims of editors. You can potentially get a lot of negative attention, so you have to be ready for that.

      3. I’m glad we didn’t have anything that involved selling things in a public market. Though I’m sure we would have found our groove with it, those challenges always seem very uncomfortable. As far as tasks I wish we got to do, I just wish there were more skill based athletic tasks. I know it was Floyd’s demise, but the basket bike task looked like a unique and cool challenge that I would have enjoyed attempting. Also in S26, when they ski up the sand dune and sled down, I’d liked to have done that. And the paragliding and traversing stuff they did in S28 in Chamoix!

  10. Matthew O'Connor says:

    Would it have been easier (and less painful) for Jen to smash some of those electronics by hitting them on the ground on one of their corners? Was that even allowed?

    • jenhudak says:

      It was Kristi in that Roadblock, but yes, ABSOLUTELY! Unfortunately, that was not allowed. She picked up one computer and started to do that, and they quickly reminded her it wasn’t allowed.

  11. MattW says:

    Jen & Kristi –

    Big CONGRATULATIONS again, and just want to reiterate what most of the other commenters, fans and followers have said post watching the season. Great accomplishment to be among the top 3 at the mat at every elim leg, the first team in HISTORY (and at 30 seasons, that is no small feat!)

    I also wanted to thank you again for your candidness and willingness to take the time to write these blog posts, post on social media and comment on Reddit over the past few months. The insight you have provided on your experience in the race has been extremely interesting to read week after week – a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse that we as the audience don’t usually get to see, and I personally really appreciated it. Made following the show so much more engaging, and fun!

    Good luck on your post-race pursuits, and hope to see you again soon (All-star…??!! ;))

    • jenhudak says:

      Thanks, Matt! We appreciate that our efforts are appreciated!! The fan engagement and interaction has been a great part of the experience for us, so thank you for your support!

      Fingers crossed for All-Stars!

  12. Roan says:

    Thank you so much for writing these blogs! They provided us with so many insights and were truly a joy to read!
    Too bad that you received the consistent-team-that-cracks-edit in the finale, but I’m quite sure it didn’t fool anyone into thinking that you weren’t an incredibly strong, consistent and honest team all the way until the end. Best of luck to you!

  13. Another Jennifer says:

    Congrats on making the final 3, and for your top tier rankings throughout! You and Kristi really were a great team to watch and to root for.

    Did you know this was the last task before getting to the final mat? (It seemed so close that you would have been able to hear the other teams cheering.) Do you know if, once you saw the other two teams leave, if you could just quit the task and go to the mat? Would you have done that if possible, or was finishing the challenge important from a personal perspective?

    • jenhudak says:

      Thanks, Jennifer! We’re certainly proud of our performance. Yes, we knew this was the last task. I didn’t realize that the finish line and all the teams were there until Jess finished her plane and I started hearing the cheering. I could even hear Phil’s full spiel as they won the million – it was painful. Continuing the puzzle was important to me. I have a yearning to figure things out, so it was bothersome that I couldn’t see the solution. Eventually I asked if I could be done, but they asked me to continue. I just knew I wasn’t going to see it any differently. I took all the parts off the plane and laid them side-by-side multiple times. But the solution involved using both left wings and that was just something that my logical brain was never going to figure out.

  14. Derrick says:

    Congratulations on making it through every leg! While I was on #teamyale because of the underdog aspect (and being a nerd myself), you guys displayed a level of performance, but moreso class and emotional maturity that isn’t always present every season and I would have been happy if you guys had won.

    I didn’t want Jessica to win in particular because of the snideness and cattiness – on one leg she hides the clue for herself while chiding Evan for working on her own when she would have done the exact same thing (and I’d argue less innocuous because she never “agreed” to work with other teams like Jessica had in her challenge). Sadly things didn’t work out that way but I hope you or #teamyale show up again on all-stars =)

  15. Josh says:

    First off I just want to say congratulations on running a remarkable race! As a long time AR face, I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Behind the scenes and personal antidotes add so much depth and personality (though your bubbly personality was shown very clear on TV) to watching the show.

    You guys had me as a fan from the 1st leg honestly thought there was no way you could lose, especially being a memory task for you! It was completely heart breaking to see you struggle with the last challenge (reading your wing explanation clears it up so much more.) It was one of those moments on TV where you want to just look away until it was over, but I can’t even imagine the frustration that was.

    I do think you two are one of the best teams I have ever seen on the show. Though you both would get emotional, either one of you, or both, were so good at rationalizing things and bringing things back down to be able to agree and get things done. There are SO many teams in the past that let emotions get the best of them which eventually led to their downfall. That takes a lot of trust and patience in one another! You guys should be an inspiration and a model for future teams to watch.

    I could ask questions all day, but I’ll just stick to one. How hard was it for 4+ months not tell anyone how you finished? I can’t imagine, it would probably drive me insane.

    Again, congrats and thanks for being an awesome and entertaining team to watch for the past two months!

    • jenhudak says:

      Thank you so much for the support & kind words, Josh! It means so much to us to have people reach out. I certainly wanted to escape that final moment, but I’m honestly glad that it went down how it did. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my teammate and our society from that moment. And it was all good things.

      It was definitely a challenge to keep the secret, but we were luckier than most! Last season they had to wait almost a year to say a word! I think the hardest part is that a lot of people were convinced that we would win. To hear them say that, and to know the outcome, was probably the most difficult part of it all. Again, fighting the feeling of “letting people down.”

      I’m always here if you have more questions!

  16. Matt A says:

    My wife and I watched with our three little girls and we were all rooting for you every step of the way. You displayed exceptional character by supporting one another (even when things didn’t go your way), being resourceful and intelligent, and never giving up.

    Too often you see the worst in people on reality TV; you guys put on a clinic on how people should act.

    Thank you for being such great role models.

  17. Silin says:

    Hi Jen,
    I just finished the last episode and I want to say that your guys are the best team! Congratulations on making it to the very end! It was incredible. I feel so proud of you guys as a female team and doing so well in the game. I was rooting for you guys after seeing some “whiny” cuts about some other teams. Both of you are such nice and genuine people, and never give up. It was amazing to see how you guys fought through each challenge. And thank you for sharing all the behind-the-scene details with us. I really hope your team could go on the show again!

  18. Cyrus says:

    Jen, this season of the Amazing Race was truly incredible and you guys were a big reason why! Before the final episode I was thinking any of the final four could take it (which I still think it’s true) but we were rooting for you and Kristi all the way!

    Congratulations on your third place, by the way. It is a fantastic place but I’m sure next time (and I don’t have a doubt there will be a next time) you can take it home. I’m glad to hear you’re up for it!

    Actually, on that note, I’m not sure if you have seen the latest seasons (I think you have based on your strategy), but if you have, do you have any teams you would like to race against?

    Cheers!

    • jenhudak says:

      Thank you so much!!! It was a great season with so many strong teams! I really do hope we have another chance to race. It was the experience of a lifetime and we’ll be ready to up our game! I have watched a TON of the show and we definitely have teams we’d like to race against: Justin & Diana, Kym & Alli, Becca & Floyd, Matt & Redmond, Tyler & Korey, for starters!

  19. woo says:

    Hey Jen,
    Loved you on the race.
    Do you know what the image is next to the train on your wing #12, or what leg it represents?
    Thanks.

    • jenhudak says:

      The image next to the train is a map of Europe with a dot on it representing a city. At the time of solving the puzzle, I thought it was representing Prague. But after closer evaluation of it, the dot is most realistically in Switzerland…so I’m still not certain if it was meant to represent Prague or one of the legs in France.

  20. Kar says:

    Hello! : ) I’m a huge fan of how you and Kristi ran the race – kickass women who played clean and worked so well together! I was worried a couple of times that we’d lose you (signs/suitcase task in HK was the worst!), but you powered through. Like you and many others, I wanted you to be and believed you were capable of being the 4th all-female team to win.. no thanks to that airplane challenge. : P But super thanks for sharing your POV on that one, Jen. Do you think the solution was intentional or an oversight on the part of production? I had wondered what was tripping you up in that final task considering you’re good at puzzles, and that’s how I stumbled upon your page (BTW, I like your way with words.) The wings would’ve thrown me off, too! I’m proud you didn’t give up and allowed yourself to go against your logical brain to figure out the answer. Anyway, it was fun watching you and Kristi. Congrats on all your podium finishes! *high five* Hope to see you both in the next all-stars season! : )

    Ps Those Escapods look really cool. Best of luck to your business!

    • jenhudak says:

      Thank you for your support! It truly means the world. I believe that it was an oversight on the part of production. They do test all the challenges before letting us run them, but given that neither Jess nor Henry noticed the orientation of the wings I wonder if the people testing may have not realized it either… I’m hopeful that this was not intentional. We’s love to be back for All-Stars and hopefully it’ll be soon!

  21. Caitlin Speigle says:

    I’ve watched most seasons of TAR (I just started watching about 1.5 years ago, and am OBSESSED!!) but out of all the seasons I’ve watched, you two have been some of my favorites. I watched the finale last night, and in typical fashion, shed some tears. My *typical* gentle weeping was full-out bawling because I did NOT like how the episode went. Thanks for being such great inspiration to women everywhere, setting a great example, and being role models for us. I’m dying to be on TAR with my husband, and if we ever make it on, I hope we could run as dignified a race as you ladies ran!! (To be honest I kind of want to ditch him and run with another female to hopefully add another victory for a female-female team haha.) Thanks for sharing yourselves with us, and giving us a behind the scenes look, something I’m always dying for.

    • jenhudak says:

      Awe, Caitlin!!!! Sorry to contribute to your bawling! It was a tough moment for us, but we are so proud of our journey regardless. Thanks for your support and I do encourage you to apply!!! I think it’s really hard to do in a romantic relationship, so maybe find that female pal!!! Lol.

  22. Jade says:

    I just finished watching TAR (I was kinda late), and I think this is the first time I have rooted for a team and never changed my mind! As well as being a really strong, good team, I love how you guys were *mostly* not negative about other teams. I know a lot of other teams’ rationales were “we need to be mean to win” but you managed to be a really great, upbeat team and still finish 3rd or above every single time!!

    Can I ask you a few questions?

    1) What was your favorite place to visit in the race?
    2) What was your favorite/least favorite task to complete?
    3) What did you learn about yourself and Kristi from the race?

    Thank you!

  23. Polly says:

    Ditto to all the positive comments about your team above! Loved this season and you did not disappoint!
    My only beef is way too little TAR! I was shocked this multi-Emmy winning show was not on last fall. It’s so inspirational and fun to watch that it should have 2 seasons a year and all 2 hour episodes. You probably have no pull with the producers but i can only hope they take feedback from hard core fans. More TAR Please!

    • jenhudak says:

      I wish I had more pull! It is a fantastic show and completely agree with your thoughts! I’ll be sure to pass along your feedback. And I’m optimistic that we’ll be back to 2 seasons/year! Thanks for the support!

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