Mar 6, 2009, Ep 3: Climb Ev’ry Mountain

The Amazing Race 14 Insider, Episode 3: Climb Ev’ry Mountain

AR14_Ep3Still stumped on why Victor (pictured with Tammy) would insist on hiking Romania’s mountains? Plenty of insight on this is shed with the Insider videos this week. We also find Phil trying out the gymnastics challenge for himself while Brad & Victoria stumble upon a tense Elimination Station. Read on for all the gory details!

After the Race

Exceeding Expectations: Mike believes that his & Mark’s size initially gave the other teams the false impression they’d be easy to beat. He thinks that after the past few legs, they’ve managed to change others’ minds. Mark is confident their size actually has been helpful as in the cheese hill challenge, their low center of gravity helped them lift the cheese. The real problem on the hill was the muddy slope. Mike also thinks that when you weigh only 100 pounds, it’s a lot easier to run up a steep hill too. There have been plenty of other hills so far and Mark has found their size to be an advantage there too.

Cara’s Poisonous Detour: Cara tells us that she has greater strength in her legs than in her upper body, so Cara figured she could sink down and push the coffin down the hill. Unfortunately, she ended up sitting directly in poison oak. Although Cara doesn’t know what poison oak looks like, she knew she had encountered it once her arms started stinging. There isn’t poison oak in southern Florida where they’re from so The Amazing Race has provided her another new experience!

Expanding Their World: Brad explains that it would be too easy for them to use their stressful jobs as an excuse to just lie around on the weekends. The Amazing Race experience has made them realize that they can find amazing things to do right in their local area. They can visit county fairs and little county adventures right in Ohio. Victoria agrees with Brad in that the whole experience is just the kick in the pants needed to get them out of complacency. What is the point of life if you don’t use the free time you have to go do things? If you end up a little tired come Monday morning, so be it. It’s a good tired, just like they’re feeling now.

Victor Explains: Victor totally values what Tammy brings to the table and he values her opinions. He regrets that Tammy thinks he dismisses her opinions. Today he listened to her logic but didn’t believe it was conclusive. To him, the hole was far too deep to just abandon it. He didn’t agree with what she was proposing. Victor took into account her suggestions on their merit and it wasn’t about emotion to him. He sees that Tammy just took it wrong what with all the stress of the race. Victor admits it doesn’t excuse his attitude. Yet Tammy’s need to talk decisions out doesn’t work well in the time constraints of the race. Talking things out does work, but only when they have the time to do so.

Extra Race Footage

Tammy’s Frustration: At the train station, Tammy admits that through the exhaustion and lack of food, she sees how Victor is treating her. She realizes how he is expecting her to treat him, and she sees that it’s very one-sided. Primarily this stubbornness is due to Victor having fewer social interactions in his life and hence an unfamiliarity with compromise. Very few people, even family, are willing to tell him to change his attitude because he just doesn’t deal well with criticism. It’s extra hard for him to hear it when he does hear it. Tammy realizes this will be her challenge.

Life at the Top: Riding the train, Amanda is temporarily bummed they lost their lead as everyone bunched up at the train station. Yet that taste of being in front has motivated them to want to get back out in front. For Kris, it’s more fun now that they’ve been first and it’s achievable. Kris & Amanda both feel very confident and the stress level has reduced significantly.

The Notebook: Amanda explains that they’re going to use their journal to write down all their clues and directions in order to get more organized. They’re keeping the pen handy for quick access. Kris tells us he had bought the journal to document the race but it’s been so exhausting he hasn’t had the chance to write in it. Instead, they’ve appropriated it as a notebook so they don’t have to try to remember things.

To Partner or Not to Partner: On the train, Jodi & Christie point out the alliances they think exist. They see a potential connection between Victor & Tammy and Margie & Luke, but recognize it as a loose alliance. Christie is worried though, as they haven’t seen other teams in a while. Jodi is sure others aren’t allying with them because of their last place standing. She finds it obvious that it comes down to you or someone else getting eliminated and alliances will fall to the wayside.

Working together has its benefits, especially with teams near you in standing. Jodi has noticed that some teams are chatty while others keep completely quiet. Christie really likes Jen & Kisha for being a nice team as well as there being a healthy competition between them. Jodi thinks it’s useful to help someone out when it’s mutually beneficial and finds there really isn’t a need to be nasty or deceptive. If you don’t want to help because of the competition aspect, just say so, as that’s understandable. Don’t lie to her face.

Taking it in Stride: Brad has found that the lesson from being stuck in Amsterdam is that you can’t get upset about little things. They had been getting that way and then the worst possible thing happened (their delay in Amsterdam). And they’re actually fine with it. Nothing further can throw them off their stride. Victoria would like to learn that lesson but she’s still upset about the massive delay and has cried three times so far.

There’s a devastation to their decision but she’s confident they did nothing illogical in making this risk. The delay was an act of God. Neither of them have any regrets in the decision. They’ve spent some time coming up with five to six scenarios that could keep them in the game and that optimism is carrying Victoria through this.

A Grand Tour: Mel is talking to the station master at the train station who is offering to give a tour. Mel rounds up the others waiting for the train and tells them the station master is going to show them the Grand Salon. They all walk in to this majestic room and the station master explains the long history of the room. It was used as a reception hall for royalty and celebrities. It’s quite a plush hall and the teams are noticeably impressed by it all.

Can’t Be Bothered: In the cab while driving away from the gymnastics hall, Mark explains he doesn’t care about people laughing about the spandex as he was a horse jockey for so long. Also just his height has been an attention-getter. Mark is definitely not a shy guy and even if he’s heckled, he doesn’t let it bother him. It only makes him stronger, although it’s easy to see that it is actually bothering him.

Finally Mark & Mike can enjoy themselves a bit and enjoy the scenery even if it is two in the morning. They just finished playing in a gym at 1:30 am and the town looks to be still quite alive and awake. They find Bucharest to be quite a happening little city.

New Day, New Attitude: Driving towards the train station, Kisha explains they’re not sure how to get there yet as neither could find it on the map. She knows they’ll need to stop shortly before they go too far down the wrong way. At a gas station now, Kisha asks the clerk for help locating the train station. Waiting in the car, Jen admits it was a trying day because of all their internal drama. She’s confident today will be better, although the two of them really didn’t talk it out last night. Jen says that the only thing Kisha has to do is not repeat herself and treat Jen as if she doesn’t understand. She’s happy to still be in the race despite what she may have said yesterday in frustration.

Moving On Up: Cara & Jaime just noticed that the sisters’ taxi passed them, although their cab driver has promised to catch them back up. The girls are confident in their driver and will be happy to catch up to Jen & Kisha and share a train with them as they’re fun girls. The cab driver indeed catches them up and they pass Mark & Mike and Jodi & Christie. Cara isn’t looking back though, as they still remember when Jodi & Christie told Tammy & Victor to ditch the redheads. Cara thinks the blondes would like to be the last female team left, while Cara would just like to be the last team left period. She’s willing to let the blondes make their own mistakes on the race.

Give Her a Hand: Cara is proud of herself for succeeding on the parallel bars. She has no strength in her wrists due to some bursa sacks in the joint, which is very painful for her. She currently can’t feel her fingers. The floor exercises were a breeze and she’s happy that she even got a compliment from the floor exercise judge.

Men in Tights: Referencing the self-consciousness Mark was feeling in the video “Can’t Be Bothered,” Jaime explains how distracting Mark being in a leotard was. She could barely cheer on Cara because Mark in a leotard was like a train wreck you just couldn’t turn away from. Cara feels bad and asks why and Jaime explains it was because the leotard hid nothing. As Jaime says, “man parts and spandex never go well together.” Both continue to chuckle about it and then Cara changes the subject to herself and how she probably didn’t look all that great either. She wonders if she had managed to get a bloody nose, would it have made it all look better?

At the Pit Stop

Victor’s Emotional Day: Phil asks Tammy how she feels seeing Victor a big ol’ mess. It’s hard for her to see him like this and thinks it would be hurtful to talk about it while he’s still all weepy. Phil isn’t dissuaded and wonders if she’s ever seen him like this. Tammy has seen Victor emotional before but they really don’t spend all that much time together. She can understand his reactions to the pressure of the race.

Victor is just glad they’re alive, as twice he thought they were going to die. Seriously. He’s also happy that they’ve avoided elimination and still get to race. Phil asks if their bad luck with the turned-around airplane had an impact on the rest of the leg. Victor found that it did and that everything afterwards was tinged with bad luck. Sure, you can look better after the fact and see you can do better, but for Victor in the moment, it didn’t seem that way.

Phil asks how they felt when the plane landed safely although it was surrounded by emergency vehicles. Tammy thought about her family and was just happy they were okay. She knows Victor was happy too but his goal-oriented nature kept him focused. While waiting for the next flight, Tammy fell victim to negative thinking and began speculating that the other teams had found an earlier flight. Victor kept the optimism then and helped keep her from staying pessimistic. She hopes that she returned the favor when they were on the mountain trek.

Phil wonders how Victor felt once he realized he had made the mistake on the mountain. Victor felt mostly responsible but thinks he can’t be expected to be perfect. They made lots of mistakes with severe repercussions. It’s a hard thing to deal with and he realizes he messed up. The lesson learned is not to go with what he says, but Tammy sticks up for him and says that’s not it at all. There just has to be good push and pull between them.

Tolerating Jaime: According to Phil, The Amazing Race is all about who can hang in there the longest. Can Cara & Jaime do that? Both think so, yet Cara thinks it’s also important to have patience. She nods suggestively at Jaime. Jaime admits she’s quite impatient at times and can be quite mean to taxi drivers. She knows full well that she would have kicked herself out with the way she behaves. Cara confirms this for Phil and re-enacts one of Jaime’s outbursts at a cab driver.

Jaime laughs but she admits it’s not because she thinks it’s funny but it’s just how she reacts under stress. She’s thankful someone like Cara is with her as two racers like her would just not work. Phil has noticed that Jaime never wants to regroup or reflect and wants to keep moving forward, while Cara finds that reflection can help. Phil now notices that Cara & Jaime are like a man and woman racing team, with Jaime being the man. Jaime admits that in relationships, men have told her they feel like the woman. It’s not intentional.

Both Cara & Jaime admit to having an element of masculinity and neither is attracted to guys with too much “feelings.” Phil sees that Jaime wants to work on what was right versus what was wrong and Jaime agrees as reflecting on the wrong can make her feel bad. Jaime is a “glass half empty” person while Cara is a “glass half full,” which Jaime is thankful for. Phil concludes that they end up having a very full glass.

Flight Attendants Soar: Mark & Mike and Jodi & Christie hug at the mat as Phil asks if they’ve been working together. The blondes show their blood-covered arms from the vampire Detour while Mark & Mike talk about their gypsy junk adventure. Phil detects that everyone’s having a good time but asks if there’s more competitiveness going on. They all agree but Jodi & Christie are just happy to see other teams again. Phil congratulates them for finally not being in last place. Jodi & Christie attribute it to a great cab driver.

Mark & Mike are also proud of their recent performance and are going to continue chipping their way up the top. Jodi & Christie find that Margie & Luke are the team to beat and Mark & Mike agree. Mark knows that Margie & Luke are from Colorado so living in that altitude gives them an edge. Phil wonders who else are threats and the guys think Tammy & Victor are strong competition. Can they be beat? All nod in agreement as everyone knows that things can turn on a dime.

A Better Day: Phil asks Jen & Kisha what they think of Romania. The girls find it beautiful and Phil then points out behind him the castle that was the basis of Count Dracula. He asks how they’re getting along today and Jen spills that if they don’t have to drive or navigate, they get along much better. He wonders if they have the stamina to make it all the way and both agree, even admitting they no longer need that much sleep. Adrenaline is getting them through. Phil asks if they can hold their own against the remaining teams and Jen & Kisha are both confident in their skills. They recognize that it takes a combination of both physical toughness and mental agility to succeed in The Amazing Race.

Elimination Station

Brad & Victoria Eliminated: It’s Thai time! A rainstorm rolls in at Elimination Station. While eating lunch, Preston jokingly blames all the bad weather on Steve & Linda’s arrival. Linda is hopeful the next team will bring nice weather with them. The speculation now begins on who’s coming next and Preston thinks it’s going to be the “Reds” (Cara & Jaime) while Steve goes out on a limb and says the “Little Guys” (Mark & Mike). Linda agrees with Preston while Jennifer thinks it’s going to be between the “Blondes” (Jodi & Christie) and the Reds.

Later that night as the next team arrives in Thailand, everyone is waiting at the front door. To their surprise, Brad & Victoria walk in. Hugs ensue and then everyone grills Brad & Victoria on what happened. Brad tells them about their Amsterdam adventure and Steve asks how they’re doing. Victoria admits that she’s not okay with it and can cry on a dime. The dime drops and she starts sobbing again. No kidding. Linda comes over and gives her a hug. Victoria returns the favor by saying she just can’t believe her dream ended with them coming in such a crappy ranking. I’m sure everyone there is happy to hear her say that. Linda shows true class and says she totally understands.

In a private interview, Victoria relates that it’s very normalizing to commiserate with others who know exactly how she’s feeling. Back at the group conversation, Jen starts telling her race stories. Separately, Steve tells the camera that Jen just loves to talk a lot. Linda & Steve have officially zoned out at this point as Jen goes on and on. Linda interjects a comment and before she finishes Jen starts talking again. Linda complains about getting cut off and Jen just rolls her eyes.

This relationship is not lost on Brad & Victoria who remark upon it in private. The awkward silence remains between Linda & Jen. The next morning, it’s still raining. The weather doesn’t stop them from visiting the Buddhist places (“temples, they’re called Buddhist temples,” says Jen as she corrects Preston). They see a mummified Buddhist and Jen finds it to look like a man. Brad points out that it is real and that it’s just a mummy. In a small room, a Buddhist monk bestows a blessing on each of them. Victoria was hoping to experience something like this and opened her heart to the experience.

Outside, they ring some Buddhist temple bells. Of course, each of these actions only leads Victoria to reflect on the race with sadness and regret. I’m sure tears were involved. She’s also embarrassed and disappointed and wonders how long it’ll take to get the negativity out of her system. Victoria is hopeful these activities will help cleanse her spirit.

Phil’s Diary

Bucharest, Romania: Phil is in the National Sports Complex, which is where the teams had to do their gymnastics Roadblock. It’s also home to where Nadia Comaneci trained, so Phil finds this to be almost sacred ground. He points out Lilliana who knew Nadia. Through a translator, he asks if Nadia has been by lately. Lilliana replies that she’d been by about two years ago.

Phil clarifies the pronunciation of Comaneci and finds out that Romanians pronounce it Com-ah-Nech, not Co-mah-nee-chee or Com-ah-Nich. Lilliana explains that Nadia Comaneci provided scholarships to the little girls standing beside them. Due to these scholarships, the girls have earned a total of 19 medals at the national championships. Will they make it to the Olympics? Lilliana hopes so, as does Phil, since he wants to say he saw them when they were little.

We then see the girls do some gymnastic moves and now Phil talks to the little girls. He asks how long they’ve been training. One girl answers since she was four years old. At the balance beam, Phil asks for an explanation of what the racers will have to do to pass that event. One of the little girls demonstrates while Lilliana explains. Phil tries it now. Uh oh! After getting his bearings on the beam, Phil literally prances along on top of it. He even gets a round of applause from the young gymnasts.

Phil now wants to be taught one move that can impress others. Lilliana takes him to the tumbling mat and begins busting out some step aerobic-type moves. I believe I see the Grapevine, jumping jacks, and the running man. Phil follows gamely along, but I am pretty certain Lilliana was just messing with him. That concludes our Romanian Phil interlude!

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