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Monday January 21, 2008 12:38 am

The Amazing Race 12: “The Final Push”

Amazing Race 12

Season 12 of started with 11 teams…and in tonight’s finale, we were down to the last three.  Since their start way back in Los Angeles, CA, the remaining groups had traveled approximately 30,000 miles and reached four different continents.

Still in the race were Christina/Ronald (the father/daughter team once known for ugly criticisms from daddy);  TK/Rachel (the Hippies who were always very chill and pleasant with each other) and Nicolas/Donald (the grandfather/grandson duo with the oldest competitor to make it to the Final Three).

Christina/RonaldNicolas/DonaldTK/Rachel

From their final rest stop in Taipei, Taiwan, the teams had to travel another 4,500 miles to their last destination: Anchorage, AK.  Although they all ended up on the same flight out, Christina and Ronald’s 45-minute head start gave them a bit of preparation time.  Because they were smart enough to ask for access to China Air’s lounge, they were able to up information about their first Alaskan stop. 

Once in Anchorage, the duos mad a dash to the taxis.  Christina and Ronald, already armed with directions, were immediately in the lead.  Their first mission was to find Sixth Avenue Outfitters so they could pick up some supplies and their next clue.  From the outdoor adventure store, the teams then had to travel to the Ship Creek Boat launch along the waterfront.  It was there they would take on their next Detour.

For this task, the pairs had to choose between “Cut the Cod” or “Grab the Crab”.  In “Cod”, the racers had to slice through 50 lb. lingcod to find a miniature clue hidden somewhere inside.  In “Crab”, the groups had to jump into tanks full of pinchy suckers to find one with a yellow and red armband.  Christina and Ronald, the first team to arrive, opted for the less painful challenge.  They were a bit concerned a clue would be hard to spot in the messy fish, but they luckily found one in their first pick.  As they were en route to the next stop – the 20-Mile Glacier – they passed the other two groups still on their way to the boat launch.

Although TK/Rachel were in a virtual tie with Nicolas/Donald at this phase, the grandfather/grandson duo discovered they had made a huge mistake:  they forgot to grab the supplies at Sixth Avenue Outfitters.  They needed the gloves provided in the bag for the Detour.  (Understandably, Donald was upset his kin failed to thoroughly read the last clue.)  While Nic/Don were trekking back to the adventure store, the Hippies took the crab plunge.  Unfortunately, the murky water made the discovery a bit challenging.  The lovebirds were in the water for so long, they considered moving on to Option #2.  Fortunately, they were able to find the right crab just as the third team were returning to gut fish.

After being taxied another 60 miles away to a different launch, the teams then had to travel by high-speed boat to a large glacier.  Their next clue was waiting for them on top of it.  Armed with boots and axes, the father/daughter duo was the first to attempt the icy climb.  Although they finished ahead of the others, Christina and Ronald saw their lead slightly dwindle after this task.  By the time they both reached the top, the next two groups had already arrived.

From the glacier, the racers were helicoptered across the Alaskan wilderness to an airfield.  The teams then had to make their way to a nearby park for their final Road Block of the competition.  This last challenge negated any and all leads that had been established up until this point.  It required the racer with the best memory from each team to work every last one of their brain cells.  (Even sitting at home, my head hurt.)

LESSON OF THE DAY:  IF YOU ARE COMPETITOR IN THE RACE, KEEP A MENTAL LIST OF ALL YOUR DESTINATIONS AND CHALLENGES.

Let’s see if I can explain – and you can understand – what was required for this task.  Facing a field of 15 recognizable objects, one person from each team had to pick 10 specific items that would match two different requirements:

  • They had to pick one item from each leg
  • Three of the selections had to be an animal or animal by-product
  • One had to be a U-Turn
  • Two had to be objects at or brought to a pit stop
  • Two had to be modes of transportation with wheels (one of which was used as a Detour)
  • And (finally) one item had to be an item of transportation resembling a stick.

 

Did you get all that?  Once the ten correct items were chosen, the clue box would open.

Although Christina was the first to begin the challenge, it didn’t take long before the other teams had caught up.  It was really anyone’s game at this point….and it was an incredible nail-biter.  In the end, it was zen-like Rachel who pulled out the narrow lead.  She and TK hit the road with Chris/Ronald following close behind.

From the park, the teams had to locate a statue of Captain Cook to retrieve their next clue.  Despite being paired with a temporarily confused driver, the Hippies reached the box first.  They now had to travel by foot to the ‘salmon hooker’ in downtown Anchorage.  The race for Number One was now extremely tight.  TK and Rachel were in sight when Christina and Ronald were hoofing it to the fish statue. 

It was now time to claim the $1 million prize.  The teams now had to travel by taxi to a nearby airport where they would then run to the Final Pit Stop.

Despite being in second place for most of this leg, the lead Rachel created back at the Road Block proved to be the turning point in the game.  The comeback kids of the entire competition (does anyone remember Taipei?) were the ultimate winners of this race.  WINNERS: TK and Rachel.  (Christina and Ronald came in a close second; Nicolas and 68-year-old Donald came in third.)

Although she was smiling and clapping just like the rest of them, I’m sure this win made TK’s dreads even more appealing to Jen…


(You can review last week’s episode here.)

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