02/18/2018 Adventure, Travels

From The Cutting Room Floor – TAR 30.9.10

The Amazing Race, Season 30, Episode 9 & 10: “The First Rule of the Amazing Race Club” – #TeamExtreme Recap

What a week on the Amazing Race!! Bahrain and Thailand were really incredible places to travel. We never would have found Bahrain on a map prior to this race and are grateful to have experienced it. P.S. – I’m still trying to track down some King of Halwa… And Thailand. Oh, Thailand! I can’t wait to go back!! My husband spent quite a bit of time in Bangkok, but had never been to Chiang Mai. So we’ll definitely be planning a trip back! The tasks in both these legs of these races were so much fun, but the elephant task was by far the most unforgettable.

Leg 9: Baharain

How did Brittany & Lucas loose a passport?

Our travel from Zimbabwe to Bahrain was brutal. Our original itinerary had us on an Emirates flight with only one connection, but Brittany and Lucas found an earlier flight on a cheaper airline. It had more connections, allowed for less sleep, but landed an hour earlier. So they took it. In the end, we were all able to get on that flight.

We had to pull our passports out a few times just for certain connecting flights. Don’t know exact details but, when they got on our flight from Addis Ababa to Dubai, Brittany sat in a seat of vomit with a dirty diaper in the back of it. She quickly jumped up and switched seats. Sounded like she usually takes Lucas’ passport right when they sit down, so I think that things got lost in the shuffle…quite literally.

We figured there had to be a non-elimination leg coming up and weren’t sure if this was going to be it. So, even though we knew they didn’t make their flight, when we last saw Lucas and Brittany it sounded like Lucas was running back to the plane to look for his passport. We figured there was a good chance they might make it in time to run the leg and stay in the race if it were a NEL. All of us just took to racing hard like usual.

How did you finish the log challenge before the boys?

We were asked to get 300 lbs of lumber to offset the scale. Kristi and I combined are about 15 lbs shy of 300 pounds, so we knew it wasn’t that much lumber. Kristi figured if we dragged lumber we could make fewer trips and get more lumber to the scale more quickly.

We made two quick trips with 4 pieces of lumber. Kristi wanted to make one more trip, but I was pretty certain we had 300 lbs, so we tried it and nailed. The Indy boys way overshot how much lumber they needed.

We heard there was an unaired task? What was it?

Yes, this task was called “Who knows your partner best?” It took place on a ship in Bahrain Bay. One partner was on a plank, the other was inside the ship out of eyesight. Teams were asked 3 questions and without communicating with one another, we had to hold up a board with Kristi’s name or my name on it, stating which of us the question applied to. The first question was “Who has carried the most weight in the race?” “Who is the first to quit on a task?” and “Who knows their partner best?” Every time you got an answer wrong, the person on the plank had to dive in the water. Then you had to start over. It could have been easy to get stuck there all day.

Well, apparently 12 years of friendship isn’t enough to actually get to know a person… We got each question wrong on the first attempt and correct on the second attempt. On the first and last questions we were both trying to be nice and flatter one another. The second question: “Who is the first to quit on a task?” is a dumb question to ask me and Kristi.

The correct answer is NEITHER! But, we quickly realized that it didn’t matter if our answers were “right,” they just had to match. We got each question wrong, but on the second time that it was asked, I kept my answer the same and Kristi changed. Had we both kept our answers the same, oh boy…

With the unforeseen drama with the passport, there wasn’t enough time to air this task. While it was pretty cool, I don’t think it changed the team order nor had as much cultural relativity as the camels, so they eliminated it.

How did you to get so lost before the pottery challenge?

Blahhhhhh. Getting lost in Baharain SUCKED!!!!! Kristi and I made it to the general location of the candy store pretty quickly. When we got there we saw Alex & Conor again, so we worked together to find the candy store. After receiving our next clue, we decided to work together to find the pottery place. I had printed out several google maps images of the area from the travel agency in Zimbabwe, but they were all different scales and didn’t match up all very well. We could see the town of A’ali on the map, and it looked relatively straight-forward to get there.

I thought that the highway we had been on earlier was the highway that would take us right there, but I was mixed up. Eventually, I realized what I had done wrong and stopped to explain it to the guys. I found a route on the maps I had printed out, but the zoom wasn’t super helpful for determining what exit we needed. There was a weird looking loop/junction that we couldn’t be certain would link us to the highway we needed to be on. At this point, I should have switched with Kristi and had her drive because I had a really good sense of where we were. Navigating and driving at the same time, in a foreign country whose street signs are in Arabic, is very difficult…

Needless to stay, we stopped once more to get directions, but weren’t being patient enough to write them down. Then Alex had interpreted what the woman said differently than the rest of us. But we agreed he might be right. Then this sent us even further in the wrong direction… That lasted for another 15 minutes at which point I insisted we turn around and get back on the highway, despite the traffic. I was done with the crazy backroads. Once on the highway, I spotted a sign for the pottery place, but Indy was in front of us, so we had to part ways. Kristi and I got lost once more from here, after stopping yet again for directions. She told me to take a left at the round-about and somehow my brain registered right… It was a road that we couldn’t turn around on, so we had to follow this massive loop all the way back to the highway and start over.

In reality, it should have only taken about 20 minutes, but I bet the elapsed time was nearly 2 hours. Somehow we were still the second team to arrive… For more insight into the NIGHTMARE of driving in Bahrain, check out this clip.

What was the most difficult challenge in Baharain?

Um, driving. Next question. Haha! But seriously, the driving and navigating in this leg was beyond difficult. We’d do things a little differently if we could do it over, but unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to fold time back onto itself.

Other than the driving, the pottery was the most difficult task. There were so many pots, it was like 90 million degrees out, and the nuances of the gems we were searching for were very specific. It was really time consuming.

How did you two complete the pottery challenge so fast?

Kristi and I used the same approach in this challenge that has carried us this far. Be thorough. There’s a saying in mountain biking: slow is smooth, smooth is fast. That concept really lends itself well to the race. Listen, Kristi and I are the first to run and sprint from place to place, but sprinting in the wrong direction isn’t faster than walking in the right direction. We got one of our first relics wrong and realized how minute of details they were analyzing. From there, we just made sure to look in every damn pot. When we went to get something checked, we made sure to know where we left off.

We also communicated very effectively during this challenge. Only one of us was allowed to be touching a pot a time, so we would get in position ready to pick up the next one as one of us was checking a different one. Also, some of the pots had larger openings and you could pretty easily see into them. By not touching any of those pots, and just looking in, we saved quite a bit of time.

What was it like to milk a camel?

OMG! You can really tell how deprived of animals I was at this point because I definitely got overly excited about milking a camel! Haha! But it was really cool. I’ve never been up-close-and-personal with a camel and their faces are just so expressive. It’s priceless.

But in all honesty, it was really difficult to milk the camel! You really had to yank on those udders to get anything to come out. I was worried I was gonna hurt the precious mama and she definitely got a little grumpy. I’m sure you develop finesse with this over time, but I didn’t have any!

Leg 10: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Why were you last to arrive at the temple?

So, this was the first sign of us starting to overthink things. We looked up google images of this temple on the internet and I noticed that there were elephants lining the front entrance. Our clue said to “search among the elephants,” so I thought I was being clever when all the other Songthaws turned left toward the parking and I directed our driver to the main entrance. Unfortunately, the temple grounds were actually under construction. Not to mention, those weren’t the elephants in which the clue was hiding…

Had we been bold enough at that point to just bolt into the temple grounds, we likely would have been in first, but we doubted ourselves. Our driver then went to where everyone else had originally gone putting us in last place to get to the clues.

Why did you change detours?

My first instinct was to do the elephant detour. I’m not scared of math and I felt like it might be pretty easy to get through. But then Kristi thought the frogs would be easy. We went back and forth in our Songthaw way too much. At one point she said, lets just do what you want, but then she kept planting seeds of doubt about my decision. This was one of the few times in the race where we had a real interpersonal issue. We were over it as soon as the leg was done.

Our driver didn’t know where either location was, but we were playing a game of leapfrog with Yale because their driver was about as clueless as ours. I had a pretty decent map of Chiang Mai and managed to find both locations on the map. We decided we were going to go to the elephants, but when we saw Big Brother and Indy at the frog detour, we just wanted to get out of the car. Finding places is the hardest part of the race, so typically if you get to a detour you should stay there… However, when we got there, both teams were already in the mud and no one had found a single frog. Each team needed to find 20 frogs in the same mud pit. It wasn’t like there were frogs stocked for each team, so the more of us looking for frogs, the more difficult it would have been for any of us to find frogs and get the number that we needed.

We had a loose alliance with Indy & Big Brother and felt like it was in our best interest as a group if Kristi and I went to go and tackle the elephants. It was a gut decision as soon as I stepped into the water. We were trying to get Yale out of the race in this leg. So, Kristi and I switched. We didn’t waste any time deliberating.

Loved seeing you best Team Yale at Math. How did you do it?

Wooop! Technically, I’m not sure we beat them at the “math” part, I think they had an error in their measurements, but I’ll take it!

The math that we had to do involved multiplying a three-digit number by 21.11 or something like that, then do some subtraction. We couldn’t use a calculator. I just broke it down into chunks, multiplied in easy numbers and then added them together. So, I took the original number, multiplied it by 21 then added 1/10th of it and then 1/100th of it to itself. The decimals are what intimidate most people, but this was a really easy fraction for me to figure out. I don’t know… We were pumped to get out of that challenge before Yale. I figured it was more likely the measurements they were hung up on, because we could see them REMEASURING their elephant. None-the-less, we still found the irony in the outcome to be humorous.

You have to understand, that every time we do post-leg interviews, producers are asking us how impressed we are by Yale’s intelligence. Isn’t it surprising that they’ve done so well? Well, no, you have to be smart to do well in this race. And they show you the “nerd” side of Henry and Evan and all the “bumbling” that they do, but they held up just fine in the physical tasks. I got in a footrace with Evan in the Reykjavik airport and that girl can RUN! Regardless, Yale would have been chuckling if they beat us in a more “physical” task too.

Where is the dislike for TeamYale coming from? Is it because they’re not like the rest of you?

Here’s the deal, folks. Any amount of “liking Yale less than other teams” has nothing to do with them attending an Ivy league school. As a matter of fact, it was one of the first things we talked about. My late father was a computer science professor at Yale for 32 years. As it turns out, Henry’s mom was a computer science major at Yale and knew my father. Henry and I pretty quickly connected over this, but as soon as we did, it seemed like Evan pulled back.

There was a very cerebral quality to Evan’s racing that tended to rub us the wrong way. I only know Evan in the context of this race, so I don’t know if this is how she is in real life. Everything was a strategic calculation for her, but somehow the fact that there were emotional beings executing the racing, got lost in the shuffle. When they tried to insert themselves into social play later on in the race it was too late. This wasn’t bullying, this wasn’t casting them out because they’re different, this was a race.

Do we think they’re a strong team? No doubt. Do they run the race differently than us? Yes. Do we feel more connected and aligned with some other people in the race? Absolutely. But we don’t hate Yale. And please, can we stop with “the nerds vs. the jocks” narrative? It has nothing to do with it.

For a few of our other thoughts on #TeamYale and our other competitors, check out this video.

How did you pass the sanctuary and not see it??

The editing masterminds did some voodoo with the clips and soundbites in this episode to build some extra drama. We never drove past Patara Elephant Farm until we found it for the detour. The problem was, the map we had was more of an art piece than a map to scale. (It’s the only map from the race that I saved so that I can frame it.)

While looking for the farm we passed two landmarks that appeared after Patara according to our map. We decided to turn around in case we had driven past it. Yale kept going at that point, and that’s when I made my remarks about them not knowing where they were going despite having the same map as us. I was wrong. 100%. I was also misinformed. But at the time, I believed I was right and I was annoyed. And no, you couldn’t see the elephants when I made my comments. Watch it again, my voice and the clip of the elephants are separate. 

Kristi and I spent another 15 minutes from that point to finally getting someone (a monk in a private monestary) who confirmed it was back up the hill where we had last turned around. So, this time we kept going past Doi Resort. That’s when we saw elephants crossing the road and found Patara. Check out this behind-the-scenes clip to see a little more into our navigational woes in Thailand.

Why did Kristi hope Yale was lost?

As for Kristi’s comment at the end of the leg “I hope Yale’s lost,” allow me to explain… With only 4 teams left, and supposedly another 2 legs of the race, we expected Thailand was a non-elimination leg. NELs are one of the most frustrating parts of the race. Especially when a very strong team nearly gets eliminated, but survives. Though Henry & Evan thought we were underestimating them, we were not.

We knew at this point that we were getting close to flying home. There was such little amount of time left, we figured the only way to fit another leg of the race in before flying back to the US, was to stay in Thailand. There’s a greater chance of maintaining an advantage from a previous leg when you start the next leg in the same country. Wishing that they were lost, was a way of expressing that we wanted as big of an advantage as possible the next leg. We wanted Yale to get eliminated. That doesn’t mean we hated them or even disliked them. We’re simply racing for $1,000,000.

Isn’t riding elephants horrific & cruel?

It certainly can be, but not at Patara. I’ve tried to learn all I can about Patara Elephant Farm, since my return home. Patara is an elephant sanctuary. The adult elephants are rescued from the the circus and are brought to Patara for protection & breeding. They do not “break” their baby elephants through torturous methods. They only allow bareback riding (apparently the chairs are a very painful and damaging aspect) and only allow one ride per elephant per day. I encourage you to look into their practices further to ensure that this is the case. And if you’re traveling to Thailand and want to have an experience with elephants, please look to places like Patara or Elephant Nature Park, and don’t accidentally support the corrupt elephant tourism industry.

We didn’t have time to ask many details while we were there, but you can read this very helpful write-up from a traveler who visited Patara (or this one). The love and affection that they showed these elephants was astounding and our experience was one we’ll remember for a lifetime.

What did the scorpions taste like?

The scorpions were much more flavorful and delicious than the frogs! They also made me eat crickets, which were probably my favorite of all. The hard part about eating the scorpions is that the exoskeleton didn’t really dissolve at all. So, you’d just chew it to break it up in smaller pieces, but it was really rough and tough to swallow. Hence why I washed it down with some beer. We weren’t supposed to eat the billion little bones of the frog, so that was somewhat meticulous. I just picked out all the bones and then tried to swallow the meat as fast as possible.


We’ve made it to the final four and have yet to finish below 3rd for the duration of the race. Hoping to channel a little extra strength next week to be sure we can maintain this streak! Kristi and I are very proud of our performance and are so appreciative of all the support that we’ve received. Thank you for watching, thank you for reading these recaps, and we can’t wait for next Wednesday! Can’t believe this is it! Tune in from 8-10 pm MT & CT (9-11 pm ET & PT). DVR the Olympics and watch us LIVE! xoxo

38 responses to “From The Cutting Room Floor – TAR 30.9.10”

  1. Jaxon says:

    Bit-tawfiq, al-akhawat!

    Chok dee, phi sao!

    “Good luck, big sisters!”

  2. Ulysses W. says:

    Hey Jen! Thanks so much for another blog. I was wondering if you could talk about the diving task that was omitted from the show – what did it involve and how did it affect the Bahrain leg?

  3. Eric Lin says:

    I’ve heard that there was an extra unaired challenge in Bahrain about diving, can you explain what that was?

  4. Janet says:

    Thank you for the blog. I really enjoyed watching Team Extreme race. Your team raised the bar on competitiveness and you were so instrumental in making this season the success it has been. This has been one of the best seasons ever. You are a class act.

  5. Mark Peters says:

    Jen, thanks for these truly enlightening blogs. Love thr insider info. Good luck next week

  6. John says:

    Love reading all the insights on your blog, Jen. In particular I appreciated the clarification surrounding this whole Yale drama. Do you think the editing accurately reflected the degree of tension with Yale? I mean, it’s been looking very personal on TV. I found it very confusing, since it didn’t seem like Evan crossed anyone personally.

    Rooting for you and Kristi! #TeamExtreme

    • jenhudak says:

      Hi John! Thank you for the support. And I’m happy to provide clarification. There is a lot more that cannot be conveyed through the tv. They’re certainly playing up the “rallying against” Yale dynamic, but the three other teams remaining were definitely closer. We all enjoyed Henry, he was very sweet and genuine and humble. Evan didn’t do anything during the “racing” that was an issue. Kristi didn’t have a problem with Evan’s decision to try the puzzle on her own in Zimbabwe. She totally understood that. From our perspective, we knew that Yale would be the last team to help us if we ever got in a bind. It’s not like we were approaching this thing like it was a team sport, we understand that it’s a race, but you want to run a race to the finish line with people you feel would have your back. We all have to use our best judgements in making such assessments.

  7. Adriana says:

    Hey Jen,

    Live Team Extreme and really hope you guys win. I loved the elephant challenge. I lived seeing you so playful with the elephants. Where you taking in the experience or still on race mode? I think I would be more focused on the experience.

    • jenhudak says:

      Thanks for the support Adriana! That was probably the first time we fully stepped back from the “race” mindset. We were having a spiritual experience with those animals. There is no other way to describe. The elephants were incredible. We certainly wanted to move through the “tasks” quickly, but the time with the elephants, we were just taking it all in.

  8. Eric Reed says:

    Jen, this has been an awesome season to watch. I have the dvr set for the season since I have training for the fire department when it is on every Wednesday night. Keep up the great work and good luck. 🙂

  9. Marrisa says:

    Jen, this blog is truly enlightening. Thanks so much for such an amazing season. This season is by far the best season of the race, and it’s the first time that I really do like all the teams in the final 4. You and Jen are my favorite of course, but I do like the INDY boys too. From watching it does seem like those boys have a crush on team extreme. I could be wrong but it was so adorable every time they protected you and Jen or helped y’all out. How did this relationship develop?

    • jenhudak says:

      Thank you, Marrisa! I’m glad that you’re enjoying it. We were lucky to be on a season of such incredible people. We got along with everyone on the race, which is not so common. We hit it off with the Indy guys from the start. I think there were a lot of similarities between our career choices and our personalities just clicked. We had their back and they had ours. We’ll be friends for life.

  10. Matthew O'Connor says:

    Why did you point out that the flight Lucas and Brittany found was cheaper? Is that somehow important to this season of the race?

    • jenhudak says:

      Hi Matthew! Sorry that wasn’t more clear. Our original flight had a much more direct route on a fancier airline. I actually don’t know the cost difference, we were allowed to book either one. But the direct route landed later. It was in the chaos of all the connections that Brittany & Lucas lost their passport. That was the only reason I mentioned it.

  11. Susan says:

    Thank you very much for providing details on the elephant sanctuaries and pointing us to reliable and caring places. I was absolutely enthralled with the parts of the show at Patara. I’m hoping to visit there myself. Thanks for the info and inspiration.

  12. Another Jennifer says:

    Can you explain what happened with Jessica’s shoes? How did she lose them? I thought it was weird that this was even shown, and I’m disappointed production chose to spend air time on shoe shopping instead of the task that was cut.

    • jenhudak says:

      Don’t know why production chooses to show what they show. Jess left her shoes at the pit stop check in. If you leave something on course, you’re not allowed to get it back. Her only option was to buy a new pair.

      • Another Jennifer says:

        Thanks for the response. I just kept expecting it to be a “plot point” that would come back – Jessica’s new shoes fall apart, causing X problem, cut to commercial. Something like that.

        So is this why when there’s a dash to the mat teams never ditch their packs? If they don’t have them at check in they can’t go back and get them?

        Really enjoyed watching you and Kristi race. Thanks for the blog posts and responding to all our wacky questions, too!

        • jenhudak says:

          Teams do occasionally ditch their bags (see Ep. 1 with Ring Girls/Goat Yoga race). It’s only imperative to ditch your pack if you’re in a foot race and ditching it will make a difference in who arrives on the mat first. Kristi and I never found ourselves in that situation, so we kept our packs on. But the rule is that you have to be within eyesight of the mat before you can ditch them.

  13. Zahra says:

    Hey jenn im from bahrain and i am a big fan of the amazing race i was so excited when i saw they finally are bringing tar to Bahrain i wish i knew before to maybe try and catch u guys 🙁 im glad u loved the halwa

  14. Deanna says:

    I’ve been rooting for Team Extreme since the beginning. As a mom to 2 girls I admire the example you have set for other women and girls throughout this race. You possess so many qualities we hope to instill in young girls growing up, including your work ethic, integrity, compassion (for humans and animals!), sense of adventure, honesty, and sense of fair play. It’s obvious you came to the race with these traits and I commend you for doing such an outstanding job! However, I can’t understand how you have become pals with Team Big Brother in and outside of the race. Of all the teams, I think they have shown the worst sportsmanship, been the most deceptive, and Jessica has been one of the weakest players ever to make it so far in the race. She is the best example of what we DON’T want our girls to grow up to be. I know everybody says “but it’s a race for a million dollars” but there is a way to compete with integrity and class, like you two. Good luck in tonight’s finale, but because of alliances I will be rooting for Team Yale.

    • jenhudak says:

      We agree about competing with integrity and class, they were values we made sure to carry through to the end. Our relationship with Jess and Cody was based on how they treated us. We never saw Big Brother and probably never will. They treated us with kindness, respect and admiration, thus we gave them the same honor.

  15. Matthew Yap says:

    Dear Jen,
    I wanted to thank you for your enlightening and entertaining blog posts! I’ve recently started my PhD on reality TV in Literature, and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences on the race. Its fascinating! I also really admire how you’ve run the race, with such grace and kindness. Lots of support from Malaysia.

  16. Jeff Grope says:

    Thanks for the insight on the challenges among the individual challenges.i don’t know how any of the teams accomplish the tasks when you are hungry, tired and thirsty! I’m surprised there wasn’t more arguing among each team. Nice job in the Race and commentating at the XGames!

  17. Jenna says:

    I truly cannot express how inspiring it was to watch you and Kristi this season. An absolute pleasure. You two are the strongest all female team to ever race (with a record that proves it!) I hope you both compete on an all stars season in the future. Thank you both so much for showing the world your fierce girl power!!

    • jenhudak says:

      Thank you, Jenna! We’re so humbled by all of the support that we’ve gotten. If there was one thing we wanted to accomplish by going into this race, it was to spread the message that women can do anything. To have that message not only shared, but received by so many, is more than we can ask for. It was a true honor to get to race and we would absolutely love to go back if given another chance. Thank you for your support!

  18. Michele says:

    I was rooting for you and disappointed you didn’t win, but overall you were one of the best racers this show has ever seen. Your record was truly impressive and you were a joy to watch. If they do another all-stars season, you gals should definitely be on it! Congrats on making it through every leg and never falling below third place!

  19. Farhan says:

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks for inspiring! Would like to see you both again, hopefully in all stars edition. 😍

    I just want to know what is the video about.
    For a few of our other thoughts on #TeamYale and our other competitors, check out this video.
    Is it about which team you want to be in the final leg? I can’t watch the video here in Malaysia.

    Lots of 💜

    • jenhudak says:

      Thanks for the support, Farhan! Yes, the video just shows us talking about the remaining teams and that we believe Yale will be in the final because they’re strong.

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