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The Amazing Race 9: Thinking Smart in Episode 9by Jeffrey Clinard -- 05/01/2006
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In many ways, this has been a strange race. After nine legs, only three teams have come in first place, and two of them (BJ & Tyler and Eric & Jeremy) are still in the race. Monica & Joseph came close to winning the last leg, while Ray & Yolanda have never done better than third. Still, they are all in the final four, and the final leg is the one that really counts.
Smart teams should evaluate the game situation at this point. There is probably another fast forward in the race, plus a yield. However, the next leg is probably going to be non-elimination. With that in mind, teams should carefully consider what they want to do in the next leg.
Any team in the lead should go for the fast forward option if it shows up. If a team isn't in the lead, they should forget about it, as it is less likely they will win it and then race to stay out of last place. Being dead broke and without possessions isn't a good place to be in the race. Sure, many teams have overcome it, but it's better to avoid it completely. Similarly, teams should try to yield the strongest competition in the race to try to get them into last place. The strongest team is probably Eric & Jeremy, though that team should consider yielding Tyler & BJ. The race is coming towards the end, and teams need to start thinking ahead for the end game.
The last leg featured a detour of “Sand” or “Sea” which meant either dragging a bunch of branches, or going out to find crayfish. The “Sea” option was a form of gambling, as the crayfish were only in some traps. “Sand” was the safer option, though as it worked out the teams that took the chance on “Sea” finished in the first two positions.
In the end, it was a close race to the finish line, but Eric & Jeremy took first place again, beating out Monica & Joseph in a foot race. Which teams were thinking smart in episode 9?
Eric & Jeremy: First place again. Part of this was their physical ability, which allowed them to ride the tandem bike faster than the other teams. This gave them a time advantage going into the detour, and that led to them catching an earlier ferry than the other teams. This bought time for Jeremy's difficulty with the roadblock, plus their decision to walk to the pit stop rather than take motorized transportation, which did cost them time, but saved them money.
Monica & Joseph: They had a chance at first place, but in the end they lost a foot race. Could they have done better? Maybe. They had their problems on the tandem bike, and failed to read the detour clue correctly. If they had done better, they might have been able to catch the first ferry out, and get to the mat in first place. Still, they did well to arrange for a taxicab to get to the roadblock, and it paid off. As it stands, they took second place despite their mistakes.
BJ & Tyler: The hippies solved their cash problem by hitting up the other teams for money, then working their magic on the airplane. However, I have no idea why they would tell Monica & Joseph they would yield them. It's never a good idea to give away race strategy, and Eric & Jeremy are stronger competition in any case. They did make a good decision to take a bus to the ferry, and took a risk by taking an earlier ferry to a different destination, counting on ground transportation to make up the time. It didn't quite work out, but they did finish in third place.
Ray & Yolanda: Like the hippies, they took a bus to the ferry, saving money and losing no time due to the hours of operation. However, unlike the other two teams on the last ferry, they did not arrange for a taxi, which could have cost them dearly. As it worked out, they finished in fourth place, but they might have been eliminated.
Fran & Barry: What went wrong? Well, part of the reason is that a taxi company failed to come though for them. This cost them a lot of valuable time getting to the roadblock. This was time they were not able to make up, as it came towards the end of the leg. It ended up costing them the race.
Jeffrey Clinard has been writing about The Amazing Race since the first edition, writing over 100 articles about it for RealityNewsOnline since it’s premier season. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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