Brad and Victoria were one of the most likable teams worth rooting for on this season of The Amazing Race. Unlike the “older couples” of prior seasons, this duo had the physical strength to take on contenders young enough to be their children. They were loving, supportive and unfailingly upbeat. Many viewers picked them to make the show’s finale. Instead, an ill-fated decision to take a different flight from the other teams resulted in disaster. They were stranded overnight in Amsterdam with no hope of catching up to the other teams. Brad and Victoria wax philosophical about their experience to fancast.
Why did you decide to take a different plane from everybody else, especially after you knew it was delayed and you had to make a connecting flight?
Brad: Until that point all of the racers had been running together as a pack and sharing information. We felt like we were a little better at getting information on our own. But if you do that when you’re part of the pack and people see you talking to tourists, they come up to you and want to find out what you know. You either have to lie to them and risk being a conniver or share with them. So we felt we needed to get ahead. Some people questioned why we took the risk to get on a plane that would only get us a fifteen minute advantage, but it wasn’t necessarily the fifteen minutes. It was so we could break free of the pack.
Victoria: Also, what we found out in the early stages of the race is that the other players were extremely fast. Everyone seemed to be a marathon runner. Brad and I are really fit and strong but we were still slower than everybody else. We were like, “Wow. We need to find a way to stay competitive if it’s a foot race to the finish line, we probably aren’t going to be the first ones.” So if we could gain an hour on a flight or cab ride or any other way we were eager to take those opportunities. Of course they come with a risk.
Brad: The other thing was that we didn’t know none of the other teams were going to be on that flight. You go up and you find out what’s the first flight that’s going to be there. We would have felt stupid if we’d intentionally taken a later flight then found out that three or four teams had taken an earlier flight and gotten a 20 minute lead. We didn’t know until we got to the departure lounge that nobody else was out there. At that point we didn’t have the time to run back through the Munich airport, get to the ticket counter and then maybe find out that the tickets for the other flight were gone too.
How far behind the other teams were you?
Brad: Really far!
Victoria: We’re not really sure, but we presumed that we were at least 18 hours behind. We didn’t know there would be the bottleneck at the train station. That helped us a little bit but it wasn’t enough. I think we showed up at the pit stop four hours later than Victor and Tammy. It was a large enough gap that we don’t have any regrets. It’s not like if we had done one small thing it would have made a difference.
You were covered with fake blood when you got to the pit stop. None of the other teams were. What happened during the coffin detour?
Brad: I was smashing those frames. I had a lot of adrenalin going. They didn’t show it but it was pretty crazy. There was blood everywhere.
Despite everything that went wrong, the two of you seemed so positive and supportive of each other, while several other teams had meltdowns over lesser problems. What is your secret?
Brad: We like each other. We realized that no matter what happens on the race, whether we get eliminated third or win the million dollars, we’re still going to be together at the end. You have to keep the big picture in mind, which is there’s no reason to completely destroy my teammate for a short term gain. Someday the race will be over and I have to live with this woman.
Victoria: There’s a piece of insight that never really came up in our conversations about the race. Part of the reason why we worked so well as a team and ultimately as a couple is that Brad is a recovering alcoholic. He’s been sober for 26 years. He has spent his entire adult life reflecting on himself. He takes time to make changes and grow. He has taught some of that to me. I don’t want to take any credit but the two of us are not willing to live a life together that has a lot of pain and discomfort. We want to go to bed at night happy to be together. It came together well when we were put into a really stressful environment.
In the first leg, you were the only team whose cheese carrier didn’t break. What did you do that everybody else didn’t?
Victoria: First of all we didn’t know that they were rigged to fall apart. I guess ignorance is bliss. We spend a lot of time in the gym. We lift heavy weights. We just had spirit.
Brad: Here’s the thing. The instructions said: use the carriers to carry the cheese down the hill. We thought it literally meant use the carriers. So for quite a while we thought that all the teams who broke the carriers and rolled their cheese down the hill were going to be penalized. By the time we figured out that they weren’t we were already almost to the bottom of our second trip down. The only alternative was to save an additional minute or two by sliding down that hill covered with sheep dip. One of the consequences of that is that we were sleeping soundly when many other teams spent much of the night washing their pants out.
What moment of your race do you wish had made it onto the television show?
Brad: A lot of our friends have watched the show. They say, “That was great but they didn’t show you very much.” We didn’t have a lot of drama. A lot of the stuff we did wasn’t really particularly good television. It was good racing. It was a good example of being getting along together. One of the reasons we were able to get down the cheese hill without falling down is that we held hands. At one point we were going down and Victoria said, “Thank you for holding me up.” I said, “You’re holding me up as much as I’m holding you up.” It was an example of two people working together.
How did going on the Race change your lives?
Victoria: We’re still working on that. I think this week has been more of a learning experience than the Race itself because the Race is an environment that we have experienced in other periods in our lives. We’re athletic and we compete.
Brad: It’s a funny experience for regular people like us to suddenly have a certain amount of celebrity. At first it’s kind of fun, people saying they saw you on TV. Eventually it ended up being kind of an icebreaker for us to develop more and closer relationships with a lot of the people who are around us. There are people I’d lost track of who saw me on the show and contacted me. People I see in the gym or at work come up and talk to me now because they saw me on TV.
What advice would you give to future competitors on the Race?
Victoria: You need to understand the dynamic between you and your partner. If you don’t have that figured out before you go on the Race there’s no way you’re going to make it through. You can’t imagine how desperate it is. You’re hungry. You’re tired. You’re wet. You’re cold. You have to make a decision like in five seconds and you don’t know what the other teams are doing.
Brad: There’s only one team that can win. Most people are eliminated. So chances are, statistically speaking, any given team is going to be eliminated. When that happens, the only thing you have left is the way your conducted yourself during the Race. Nobody cares if you’re third or tenth. What they remember is the way you treated your partner, the way you comported yourself when the chips were down.
Kynt and Vyxsin are fancast’s celebrity Amazing Race bloggers. They have this question for you: Guys! The image of your “bloody” faces in the middle of the night at Phil’s Mat was without a doubt one of the most unforgettably SPOOKY moments in Amazing Race history. With this morbid leg now behind you, we have to know ——- what is each of your personal favorite SPOOKY movies?
Brad: The Shining, the original with Jack Nicholson.
Victoria: This is really embarrassing. Planet Of The Apes had me so petrified when I was 8 or 9 years old. I used to lie in bed and I swear I could hear the apes coming into my bedroom.
Watch this episode of The Amazing Race on fancast.