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The Amazing Race 5: Thinking Smart in Episode 3by Jeffrey Clinard -- 07/23/04
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There's almost always a segment during each leg of the race that makes or breaks a team. In episode three of Amazing Race 5 it was the airplane trip from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche. The order of the finish in this leg was almost all based on which flight the teams took. Jim and Marsha ending up losing at least an hour on every other team. Colin and Christie, as well as Charla and Mirna, were on the first flight out, and gained time – leading directly to their first and second place finishes in this leg.
Indeed, there were two instances of cutting in line in this episode – by the top two finishing teams in this leg! Colin was able to get the ticket agent to put himself and Christie at the top of the waiting list, while Charla feigned a medical emergency to put them at the top of the list as well. Jim and Marsha, despite putting in for the standby ticket first, got squeezed out – of the line, the plane, and the race. They might have cut a few moral corners, but it wasn't illegal or a rule violation. This is a race for one million dollars, and that means taking every advantage a team can get.
The Detour provided an obvious fast route – paragliding. In fact, the only reason a team should have elected to ride the mountain bikes is if there was a long line of people waiting, and too few paragliders to go around. A team at the back of the pack should have considered biking simply to bypass the line. The Roadblock was pure luck, something some teams had more of than others.
This leg of the race actually had few places were a thinking team could gain an advantage. The one place it counted was at the airport, and even there teams needed a bit of luck to get on standby. However, this article series isn't about luck, it's about intelligent racing. So what teams were thinking smart in episode three?
Colin and Christie. Colin mentioned that part of their strategy would be to help others as a method of building favors. It's actually not a bad idea (if only to keep from being Yielded out of emotion), but there are times teams have to play in a cutthroat manner. They did that when they asked to be put FIRST on the waiting list – and got it. That was thinking smart, and coupled with error-free racing put them in the top slot in this episode. Simply put, there is very little more this team could have done right in this episode.
Mirna and Charla. As this team learned, everybody has to look out for number one in this race. Plus, each team has to play to their strengths. They are certainly taking full advantage of the way people want to help Charla. This somewhat makes up for their fairly poor ability to drive themselves. They should consider taking a page out of Jim and Marsha's book and hiring cabs to guide them if this continues to be a problem. While it was nice of them to stop for their then-allies Brandon and Nicole, there wasn't much they could have done. A better way to help them would have been to get to the airport first and book tickets for them. This team is consistently at the top of the standings, showing that they are becoming an elite team in this race.
Brandon and Nicole. The committed Christians weren't very committed to their allies – nor did they act much like Christians. Teams can do what they have to do to race, including jumping from ally to ally, but they can't take a moral high ground at the same time. As with most teams, their finish reflects the order in which their flights arrived in San Carlos de Bariloche, highlighting the fact that the time savings in transport are the real key to the race. They are a solid racing team and should do well.
Bob and Joyce. Of the teams on the third flight, this team finished first, reflecting a good, solid effort on their part. They didn't get much airtime, but that's because they put in a good performance without making mistakes. They are quietly proving to be one of the top teams in the race. If they keep it up, they'll last a long time.1 2 Next-->
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