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Amazing Race 4: Thinking Smart in Episode 4Page 2
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Monica & Sheree (have used fast forward). This team bought faster transport to Paris via their expensive cab ride, which I feel was a mistake. However, they, unlike Tian & Jaree, did not dawdle around the airport after arrival, and was able to secure a faster train to Le Mans. That action WAS thinking smart, even if it became meaningless afterwards. What this team did fail at was taking the expressway to Marseilles. They blew their lead and then some, not smart racing. After the teams evened out at the lighthouse, they pulled up to the finish line in the number four position, not bad considering they were the fifth team to the lighthouse and the detour.
Reichen & Chip. This team took a cab at the beginning of the episode, and I've already ranted enough about why I think that wasn't thinking smart. They also didn't check their airline tickets and ended up with business class seats on the leg from Frankfurt to Paris. Refusing to use them was thinking smart (the risk IS too great), but this error should not have been made in the first place. However, what really wasn't thinking smart was their premature stop in the mountains. This team failed to look for the flag that would have indicated the correct location and wasted a lot of time hiking down the wrong path. While their finish was in the middle of the pack, a mistake like this could cost them everything in a later stage of the race. They are fortunate they had enough time to recover from this serious error.
David & Jeff. This team has come to the conclusion that they should be concentrating move on the mental part. Given that this column is “THINKING SMART IN EPISODE X,” I'm forced to agree with their conclusion. Actually, a really elite team has both the mental and physical part down, and if these two can accelerate their mental game plan, they can excel in the race. They made a good decision in taking the train to Munich, another good one in being the first team to actually park in the correct (flagged!) parking lot, but they made a bad one on the path from the detour back to the parking lot. Why? Because this time they failed to look for the flag. No other team missed it, so the error was completely theirs. It cost them both time and energy, causing them to drop in ranking during this leg of the race. It's the kind of mistake they can't afford to make if they wish to win.
Kelly & Jon. This team needs to focus more on making good decisions themselves and less about working with other teams. It was their choice of Salzburg or Munich, and I think they picked the weaker choice. It was their decision to go that way, and it was also their decision in which route to take in order to find the lighthouse. I have no idea if it was skill or luck, but they were the first to arrive, which means something went right for them (though again, due to Jon and not Kelly). One thing this time was an error on the roadblock. It should never be a matter of who wishes to do it, or taking turns, it should be a matter of examining the clue and figuring out from it which person is more likely to complete the task faster. Kelly should not have argued the matter before they got the clue (and she regretted the choice after having to actually perform it). They did get to the detour in third place, but completely blew getting to the pit stop, dropping dramatically in position during the final leg. These mistakes must end if they are to continue in the race.
Steve & Dave (have used fast forward). In some ways, this team is the opposite of Dave & Jeff. Where those two have realized that often it isn't a matter of physical fitness and ability, and is often a matter of thinking smart, Steve & Dave have found out that sometimes it isn't just a matter of thinking smart, but also some physical ability, particularly in a sprint to the finish line. I'm not sure what kind of transport they took to Salzburg, but they went there instead of Munich, catching up to Kelly & Jon in the process. This leg of the race bottlenecked up and they ended up on the back end of the pack, finishing next to last for the second time in a row. This team is surviving on luck, not skill, and will need to turn things around in order to continue in the race.
Steve & Josh. What went wrong? Heck, I don't know. Somewhere between the lighthouse and the detour, they must have gotten awfully lost, because it was dark when they checked in at the pit stop. It seems funny, since I think their decision to take a train instead of a cab was the correct one. Unfortunately, that saved money didn't do them any good when it came to the end. They couldn't buy themselves a better finishing position.
Jeffrey Clinard lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his cats, Lam and Princess. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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