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Amazing Race 4: Thinking Smart in Episode 7Page 2
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The Detour featured a delivery, either by elephant or by bicycle. Which one was faster? Well, it largely depends on the condition of the team. An in-shape team was probably better off delivering the chickens via bicycle (baskets); an out-of-shape team should definitely have delivered the fabric via elephant (trunks). As far as the Fast Forward, no team elected to use it in this episode, which was wise considering that Tian & Jaree, who had already used theirs, finished last. Reichen & Chip, who were in last place for much of the leg, should have considered it, but they won their gamble.
So, in order of their finish, which teams were thinking smart in episode seven?
David & Jeff. First place for the second leg in a row, winning another cruise. True, they did take a cab all the way to Panvel Station, but the teams that didn't spent the money on a hotel room, so maybe it all evens out (though given the choice, I'd select well-rested over arriving to the train station first, particularly since everybody bottlenecked at train departure time). They took off for National Highway 47 and never looked back. They might have improved their time a bit if they had picked "baskets" over "trunks" (and saved themselves some wear and tear on the male anatomy), but it's hard to argue with first place.
Jon & Al. The teams started off right by asking their cab driver about the options for getting to Panvel Station. They opted for the train option, going from Victoria Station to Panvel. While the last team to arrive there, it made absolutely no difference in the race, since the departure time of the train from Panvel was the same whether you were there ten hours or ten minutes before it left. Could they have come in first place? Maybe. If they had selected "baskets" over "trunks," they might have beaten David & Jeff to the pit stop and won the cruise. However, the elephant ride was a fairly safe choice, since it was clear other teams were selecting it, and there was always the chance the other option might have been a trap. Second place is excellent at this stage of the race.
Kelly & Jon. They, like the clowns, spent their first several hours of the race resting in a hotel and taking the train out of Victoria Station to Panvel. They raced steadily after that, and managed to pass Tian & Jaree at the Roadblock. The only place they really made a mistake was during the elephant ride, where they navigated incorrectly. It didn't affect their position in the race, but it cost them time. This was a mistake they can't afford to make on future legs. We also learned from Kelly that elephants aren't just hard on the male anatomy.
Millie & Chuck (have used Fast Forward). Like most of the rest of the teams, they grabbed a cab all the way to Panvel Station instead of taking the train. On a dollars and cents basis, this wasn't the right choice, but it didn't end up making any difference in the race. They had bad luck with their cab, first running low on gas and being overtaken while they refueled, then having the cab overheat. One of these was preventable (see Reichen & Chip, below), the other was just one of those things. They did pick up the pace going through the Roadblock, and didn't make the mistake Tian & Jaree did with their Detour task. If things went a bit differently, they might be a few positions higher – or they might have been eliminated. Equal amounts of bad luck and mistakes by other teams balanced out, and they finished in the middle of the pack.
Reichen & Chip. While this team had the right idea at the start by getting information from the hotel concierge, they proceeded to take a 90-minute cab ride to Panvel Station, instead of the more economical train. They had the right idea before starting on National Highway 47, finding a cab that had enough gas, but they spent way too much time doing so – and their cab ended up running low anyway! This put them in last place, something they never recovered from until the very end of the leg. Where this team really excelled was in their detour choice. They were the only team to pick the bicycle / chicken (baskets) delivery option, and that was largely because they had no choice. Simply put, there was no way they could catch up to Tian & Jaree (or Millie & Chuck) if they selected elephants, so with nothing to lose, they took the bicycle route. Given their physical condition, it was the smart choice, but one they almost blew anyway by failing to navigate correctly. It took some luck, but they were able to squeeze in ahead of the models and are still in the race.
Tian & Jaree. What went wrong? Well, a lot of little things conspired to produce a loss at the end. They were the only team to stumble at the Roadblock, which cost them time and position, dropping behind Jon & Kelly. Then at the Detour, they failed to follow instructions and forgot to put the fabric on the elephant before boarding. That caused another delay and another loss of position, this time to Millie & Chuck. After that, they ended up in sight of Reichen & Chip when they were leaving the Detour via elephant. If the married couple hadn't seen them, they might have picked the elephant option as well and been eliminated. What we ended up with was a combination of factors, each seemingly minor at the time, but in total, enough for elimination. Any number of small changes in their racing might have prevented their loss.
Jeffrey Clinard lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his cats, Lam and Princess. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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