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02/05/2018 Adventure, Travels

From the Cutting Room Floor – Tar 30.6

The Amazing Race, Season 30, Episode 6: “The Claws Are Out” #TeamExtreme Recap

And so, the adventure continues! **SPOILER ALERT*** Once again, and with honor, Kristi & I landed on the podium. This time we were back in FIRST place. We’re the first team of the season to win two legs and are feeling stronger and more confident as we work out our strategies for this race. Prague is a gorgeous city and close to my heart as my great grandparents were from this area. I’ve always wanted to visit and am more compelled than ever to go back!

When we signed up for the Amazing Race, we did so because of the incredible opportunity the race presented – a potential trip around the world, being tested in all different realms, a prize of $1,000,000 – not because we were going to be on TV. The cameras, the producers, the sound guys/gal, were all secondary to the competition. We almost forgot that there was a TV show being produced at times, we were simply there to compete. The aftermath of the show has been an incredible gift and given us the chance to relive one of the most [amazing] experiences of our lives.

Why didn’t you plot against a strong team in the back of the pack and eliminate someone with the W-Turn?

For those of you who don’t know the rules of the race, once you’ve used a u-turn, you can’t use it again in the race. [After speaking to some other races from TAR30, I may have been wrong about this]. Regardless, Kristi and I were feeling really strong about how we were racing and with an hour lead on 3 other teams, we felt like we would be wiser to let them battle it out among themselves. Though the “social” game of TAR isn’t quite as mission critical as in say Survivor, it is still a crucial element. Being a good team isn’t the only reason you get u-turned. You can have a target on your back for being a strong team, for being untrustworthy, for being annoying…

To risk u-turning a team that we were likely to beat to the mat that day regardless, wasn’t worth it. Even had we used the “burn” tactic, wherein, the first team to arrive u-turns a team in the back of the pack, and then the second team to arrive u-turns the first team, thus making it void and leaving only one team u-turned, there was still a chance that team would survive. Well-Strung nearly did. Then we’d be left in a race with a pissed off team and we would have a target on our back for not only being “good” but being “untrustworthy.” The U-Turn was an unnecessary weapon for us to use in this scenario.

That said, Jess & Cody absolutely made the right decision in U-Turning Well-Strung. Though all of us were sad to see them go.

Why did you decide to keep your cab in Prague?

We let our cab go at the Roadblock in Belgium and then got super lost finding the printing press. We said we’d NEVER let our cab go again. But then had a terrible cab in Morocco, so we abandoned ship! Haha! See, learning from past mistakes…

On the flight to Prague we asked a local an overwhelming number of questions about their taxis. There are a lot of fraudulent taxis in Prague, as well as only certain ones that travel in certain places. We made sure to learn the trustworthy taxi companies (AAA was one of them). We also knew that cabs were difficult to track down in the city, but were informed that any restaurant would happily call one for you. The Firefighters did that! But, waiting for a cab during the Amazing Race is a form of torture.

So, without giving away too many secrets, we found a way to communicate with our cab driver that we were in a very important race and that we wanted/needed him to wait for us. We also learned how to say “thank you very much” in Czech (děkuji mnohokrát – pronounced djay-qwee-A moots-graat), which goes a long way while traveling.

Why didn’t others do the same?

This was the first leg where you really needed a cab, so I don’t think the “keep your cab” mentality was quite front-of-mind. The driving time between the detour & roadblock was probably about 15-20 minutes without traffic. And from the roadblock back to the city center about the same. To be without a cab would have been horrendous. You couldn’t do it. Hence why so many teams spent so much time trying to find a cab, versus trekking on foot. I don’t think many teams thought about keeping their cab at the Rudolfinum and then some others had issues retaining them.

Why did you choose “This” over “That?”

Since we had no information about either detour, we decided that we would go to the closest one. Our cabbie told us that “This” was closer, which apparently wasn’t true, but it worked out. The most important thing was that he knew where it was. We got there about 15 minutes before Yale, as they were taking public transportation. I think Kristi and I would have been able to get through “That” pretty quickly as well, but “This” was way more fun.

Kristi, always thinking two steps ahead while I pour the perfect beer, she’s strapping our keg onto our dolly.

“This” had some elements that made it very tricky. For example, the “perfect pour.” (If the photo of the perfect pour was double-sided, we’re total idiots…) I knew we needed some foam, but the area to which we needed to take it for approval was quite a ways away. By the time we got down there, our foam had deflated almost to nothing. On round 2, we brought our mug of beer and another mug full of foam, and refilled our foam right around the corner from the brew master.

What was so difficult about finding the party boat?

This is actually so freaking funny… After we rearranged the kegs, tapped the full-keg, and delivered a perfect pour to the brewmaster, we had to deliver 2 kegs to “Fidelio at Naplavka Smichov.” That was ALL the information we had. We first went to our cabbie who was waiting for us, and showed him where we needed to go. He offered to drive us, but we had to go on foot and we’re not allowed to have someone lead us. We tried to follow his directions, but apparently our concept of 200 meters is wayyyy off.

This was approximately the route that Kristi & I took, maybe a little shy on the back & forths:

Our route to Fidelio. Red line is where we actually ran/walked. Blue dots are the direct route.

We asked so many other people for directions. Everyone just kept saying, it’s at the river, which we thought meant it was a restaurant or brewery on the river. Mind you, the river is long, as rivers are… There was no indication of Fidelio being a boat. However, if any of us had slowed down enough to use someone’s phone to look up each individual element of this, we would have learned that Naplavka means “embankment,” Smichov is a district in Prague, and Fidelio…yeah, nothing about Fidelio. We were too fixated on this last element, Fidelio, to realize that Naplavka Smichov is a very specific embankment. Not the river itself…

If you did it right, the brewery was merely a 5 minute walk to Fidelio if you went directly there… But Fidelio was tucked behind the wall of the embankment, so you didn’t see it while you were walking past it. We past it two or three times before actually finding it. Don’t worry, we got it right the second time!

Jen, how did you solve the Roadblock?

The Roadblock was a memory challenge, which I happen to LOVE! Yay! I hadn’t seen this episode with Flight Time & Big Easy (though I watched their season, so not sure how I missed it). This was allllll new. As soon as I walked in, the ringing was overwhelming. It was deafening. I just decided right away that I had to be extremely methodical about listening to the phones. I think I was also the only one who plugged their other ear… As I was hearing the words, I’d put them into small individual phrases so that it would be easier to remember.

I made a whole lap around the room, listened to every single phone, but still only had 6 words. At first I was stressing but, it was still only Daniel and I in the room. So, I just started at the beginning and SLOWED DOWN.

The phones weren’t real, meaning that picking up the handle didn’t trigger the recording. I’m fairly certain that the recording of the words was on a loop, so if you picked it up right after the word played, you’d hear silence for long enough that you’d think there wasn’t a recording. But, if you picked it up right before it played, it would seem like the words played quickly. In a nutshell, if you went too quickly, you’d miss words.

I finally got all 8 words and went into the room to solve the puzzle. This was around the time that Evan arrived. The form had a bunch of random questions you had to answer (to confuse you) and then had one section to write the 8 words in, line-by-line. I’m a very visual person, so I immediately went to write the words down on the margin so that I could visualize how they should go together. Apparently that was not allowed. So I started over. I first tried: “It is the meaning of life that stops,” which is completely morose…

The real Kafka quote, however, is beautiful: “The meaning of life is that it stops.” A little less than 3 years ago, I held my father’s hand as he took his final breath. His death taught me to appreciate every moment for what it is. So, that’s what Kristi and I have tried to do on this race. “Life has meaning and purpose because it’s finite. And our experience on this race is finite as well, whether or not we win, or go home next leg,” I say, as Kristi finishes my thought, “we want to enjoy every moment.”

Why didn’t you work with Daniel?

It didn’t even cross my mind to work with Daniel. The twins are the nicest people on earth and their dad jokes are out of this world. Evan had been calling them the “plaid dads,” which I think would have been a more appropriate hashtag, but maybe it didn’t fit with the theme of the season.

Anyway, my decision to not work with Daniel was simply because I didn’t need to. The Firefighters and us were the first two teams there. The edit made it look like Kristi and I somehow arrived long before them, but we weren’t there more than a minute before they arrived. We were still at the clue-box when they got there.

At this point we knew Well-Strung had been U-turned because Indy told us when we saw them as we were leaving the detour. So, we knew we didn’t have a ton of time pressure. In the same way we didn’t need to U-turn, we didn’t need to collaborate.

Did Jess sabotage Brittany & Alex?

Before you read on, please remember that behind the “characters” that you see on this show are real people with real feelings and real lives. Be kind. It’s fine to be critical of race decisions, but let’s not make it personal. All of these people are in a race for $1MM. No one knows who or what to believe or when you’re being lied to. As a racer, there are things you don’t know until the show airs. Yet, all our opinions on scenarios are filmed BEFORE THE SHOW AIRS. You have to be on your toes, looking over your shoulder, questioning every decision, conversation, interaction, to see what it may tell you about a team’s trustworthiness.

I don’t think Jess sabotaged Brittany & Alex, but she was uncomfortably sneaky, and intentionally so: “The last thing I wanted was to give everyone all of my hard-work and then see them leaving the roadblock before me. I didn’t feel comfortable sharing the actual answer until I was heading out that door with the clue in my hand.” This is completely fair, but there was probably a better way to go about it.

In the context of the race, I give her props for thinking on her toes so quickly. I couldn’t have come up with that plan on the spot. Might not be the same game Kristi and I are playing, but this girl is in this game to win it. I also completely understand why Brittany is expressing reservations about trusting Jessica moving forward. Don’t forget she’s also in a race for $1,000,000.

What We See:

Jess asks Brittany, “How many words do you have? I have 5, but I’m missing 3.”

Brittany responds, “Which ones do you have? I’ll tell you if I have the one that you’re missing. Ha!”

Jess says, “This, Is, It, and then Stops,” then states, “let me know if you find another word.”

We then see Brittany & Alex hand in their sheets, while Jess changes “this” to “life.” After B & A get it wrong, she turns her in form, gets it right and gets her clue.

What We Don’t See:

I’ve typed out the scenario, word for word, but we are still missing so much information. For example, we don’t see when Alex got in the mix. We don’t hear anyone explicitly say “let’s work together”. And we don’t see who did what when they were solving the puzzle… In other words, we don’t have all the facts, so how can we judge?

So, what should Jess have done?

By telling them the word before she left, Jess prevented an all out war. Had she not done that, she would have guaranteed that she and Cody would be racing with a target on their back. Jess could have gotten the same results without potentially burning bridges by negotiating the collaboration. She was in a power position because she had more words than Brittany & Alex combined. By saying, I’ll give you my words if you let me get the clue first when we solve the puzzle, she would have preserved some relationships. Easy for me to say in hindsight though. All said and done, it’s a race.

Next WEEK:

Off to Zimbabwe next week! When we left Morocco we were worried that would be our only African experience. Morocco feels more middle-eastern and Mediterranean than African. We are over the moon excited to go to Zimbabwe! My face says it all! Next week shifts to two-hour time slot from 9-11 pm ET & PT and 8-10 pm MT & CT, only on CBS 🙂

Yup, I’m excited.

 

 

21 responses to “From the Cutting Room Floor – Tar 30.6”

  1. Beckett says:

    Hi Jen! Thanks for the recap.

    A couple of questions again from me.

    1) Before your participation on the show, where you aware of the idea that racers may be given a “good edit” or a “bad edit” by TPTB?. If you were aware of it, did the possibility of that happening concern you at all?

    2) Would you say navigation overall was the most difficult aspect of the race more than the tasks themselves?

    Thank you for your time!

    • jenhudak says:

      Hi Beckett! Thanks for the questions!

      1) We were aware that we could be given a “good edit” or a “bad edit.” We weren’t too concerned about it. They can’t make you say anything that you don’t mean, but they have the power to pull things out of context. Kristi and I were prepared to take full ownership of the edit and carry responsibility for the things that we did or said that were unfavorable. We have been fortunate to have been given a good edit thus far.

      2) Absolutely! Getting from point A to point B is definitely the hardest part of the race, not only in self-drive legs. It’s unfortunate that it’s not as interesting to watch as the unique challenges themselves, because then producers would put a lot more of it into the show otherwise!

  2. Degan says:

    Hey Jen! Congrats on getting first place on the last leg with Kristi!

    I really like the maps that show your directions of getting to places in the blogs, it really shows me how it can be tricky and time-consuming to get to places at times without a map… 😛

    My question is: When driving in vehicles (during the 1st/4th/5th legs), how often do you see other teams and their vehicles? I don’t think I’ve seen teams help each other while driving (ex. 2 teams pull over to find their destination, one car follows another car for guidance).

    • jenhudak says:

      Hi Degan! Thanks for the congrats. Glad you like the maps. That was the most eye-opening part of the race for us. The difficulty in navigating when you don’t really know where you are or where you’re going!

      In Iceland, we left the airport with Team Yale and Team Ocean Rescue. We were behind Yale for a little bit, just following them. They tried to make a last minute right turn, which sort of forced us to turn right (which was the wrong way to be going…). Ultimately, we got a bit lost. Ocean Rescue stayed behind us for that turn. Eventually we did pull over with OR and chat about where we should be going. We drove together for a bit longer until they turned off the road we were on and I didn’t. I knew it wasn’t the right way. After that, Kristi & I were solo on the road. We didn’t see another car until we were leaving the ARI. Then we saw cars again at the Roadblock, but not on the open road.

      In Saint Tropez, we left the airport with Indy and stuck together for quite a while. We eventually got separated from them as well, to no one’s fault. Just how it goes some times. And then the next leg in Les Baux, Jody followed us to the highway and then went their own way and got lost for awhile! Then we followed Jody to find the cafe location, but again they turned off route and we snuck in front of them.

      So, in a nutshell. On the open road, you don’t see people very often. It can be really disorienting. You have no idea if teams snuck in front of you or not.

  3. Ioana says:

    I just want to say that your blog is my favorite “racer recap” of this season. I am rooting for you guys! It’s about time a female team won again.

  4. Gwen Morgan says:

    Congratulations Jen. Tom and I look forward to your adventures each week and are confident you will make it to the end and the BIG prize! I enjoy reading your behind the scenes comments too.
    Gwen

  5. Way to go girl. Rippin Chix is routing for you! What a shock to see you on the race when first tuning into leg one of the race. Best of luck to you and Kristi, one of my favorite shows. I love watching the competition which is not scripted. So happy you got in on such a wonderful experience, you’ll have great stories to tell. Hope to see you on a bike again soon.

  6. Jaxon says:

    By acing this round, hrdinko *, you have brought glory not just to your great-grandparents’ homeland, but also to your peacefully resting pop Paul…just as it should be!

    * Czech(oslovak) for “heroine”

  7. TodF says:

    Great recap and insight. Thanks for sharing. You and Kristi are such a strong team. Curious…how long does each segment typically take? And, how much time do you have between race segments to rest?

    • jenhudak says:

      Hi Tod! Thank you for reading and, as always, for your support! The length of segments can vary quite a bit. The part that you see on the show, where we’re actually running around doing challenges, ranges from about 3-8 hours. However, when we first open our clue in location x and have to travel to location y, it can be anywhere from 3-32 hours until we’re doing challenges. Those are the times that we’re sleeping on airport floors or sleeping on an overnight flight. In between the race legs (not on TV), we are typically locked down in a hotel only allowed down to the hotel restaurant for meal times. This can range from 1-44 hours, depending on what time you get done with the previous leg. These “pit-stops” are where we do most of our resting, refueling, recovering and LAUNDRY!

  8. Another Jennifer says:

    First, congrats on the wins. I love that you’re running a clean race, and your blogs are great.

    You said you couldn’t have your cab driver lead you to the boat. Has this been the general rule for this season? I noticed a few episodes again that no one is having locals (“Ferns” in TAR-speak) lead them to challenges, and wondered if that was explicitly prohibited.

    • jenhudak says:

      Thanks, Jennifer! Yes, that was a rule this year, not sure about previous seasons. There were some exceptions (like in Morocco, people could lead us if they offered, but we couldn’t ask to be led).

  9. Jez says:

    Hi Jen! I am rooting for you guys to win! Been a fan of the race since Uchenna & Joyce, and just wondering, how do you guys do your laundry? haha

  10. Tristan says:

    Hi Jen! My 3 daughters and I are rooting for you ladies!!! Thank you for being a great example of bright, competitive, and fun women. Where are your rad purple trucker hats from???

  11. Dave says:

    Does TAR have the concept of a “time credit?” For example, if production runs out of batteries or storage which inhibits the racers from completing a task?

    • jenhudak says:

      Hi Dave! Yes, they do. We had a few moments of production holds for reasons similar to this. Or if a team is disadvantage due to a technically malfunction, they’ll hold the other teams back to honor that time lapse.

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