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The Amazing Race 10: Thinking Smart in Episode 3by Jeffrey Clinard -- 10/05/2006
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Phil promised surprises in the race, and the third leg provided one. Not only were teams given no money, but they were specifically prohibited from begging or selling possessions. However, smart teams should have recognized a loophole desperate teams could have snuck through - bartering. Itís been done before on the race, and offering to trade possessions for a ride was possible. It was rather nice to see the Roadblock give teams a chance to make money, though. It called for a different kind of decision. Teams could have sold more flowers to make more money. Teams who had carefully managed their money would only need to sell the minimum amount required. A dead broke team had the chance to trade time for some extra cash.
Proper money management has always been a hidden part of the race. Duke & Lauren lost the race in part due to poor money management. Iím not sure where their cash went, but every other team had sufficient funds for the leg. Thatís why one of my pre-race thinking smart tips is to spend money wisely. It was nice to see some teams at least attempting to double up in the cabs, though it didnít work out. It is usually safe to do that early in the leg, but teams canít afford to do so later on, particularly if they are trailing.
Still, my number one thinking smart tip always has been to follow the directions. It doesnít seem to matter how clear they are; some team always finds a way to violate them. I am convinced if teams were given one of those puzzles where the first instruction was to read all the directions first, the next 18 directions were to strike out words, write numbers in the margin, etc. and the final direction was to ignore all the previous directions but the first one, the correct solution is to hand in the puzzle blank, and Iím convinced that 90% of the teams would flunk. If the penalty for a wrong puzzle were an hour, most teams would be wasting that time, though it would provide some entertainment.
In this case, the direction prohibiting motorbike transportation was for the teamís own safety. Tom & Terry disregarded the rule and not only put themselves in danger, but also jeopardized their camera crew, who also had to use the bikes. They were very fortunate to have gotten a lead, as their rank went from second to eighth place. Iím going to assume they will follow all directions carefully in the future, as they must have felt sick watching team after team check into the pit stop while they stood on the penalty pad.
The Roadblock was all about selling flowers, which turned into a frenzy at one point with flowers being sold left and right. Iíve often wondered what the people in third world countries must think of those crazy Americans when they are doing something like that. Something tells me that the teams werenít really selling flowers; they were more or less getting tips as street entertainment. The Detour was a choice between making coal bricks and building a birdcage. Which was faster? Well, Duke & Lauren were the only team which made the birdcage, and they were eliminated. However, I donít know if the task was necessarily to blame. Duke & Lauren had problems finding the task and fell at least 30 minutes behind most teams. Remember the brick making Roadblock in India during The Amazing Race 5? With that in mind, I almost certainly would have elected to construct the birdcage. In either case, teams were better off watching the locals perform the task before attempting to begin, and much better off if they asked questions about the quality of their work as they went.
Three teams are gone; nine teams remain. Which teams were thinking smart in Episode 3?
Erwin & Godwin: How did a team that was in last place a few times during the leg end up in first? Maybe a better question was why the only team to stop and look at a map of the Hanoi Hilton was the last team to find the flight suit! Actually, after that, it was simple; they had a local take them to the bus station and direct them to the correct bus. That move put them in first place by a pretty good margin. They had the coal brick facility to themselves, and even with their initial set of bricks rejected, their early bus ride kept them in the first position. Plus, they are enjoying the race. Well done on all fronts!
Tyler & James: The former drug users put in their third solid leg in a row, and are looking to be the team to beat. While they fell into the same group as most of the teams when it came to finding a bus, they were the ones who got a local to take them to the coal brick Detour. They steadily cranked out the bricks and moved into a solid second position. They also picked up on Dustin & Kandiceís tendency to grab any advantage they can get, meaning they are prepared if there is another scramble for tickets.1 2 Next-->
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