READY, SET, GO!
Eleven teams of two, each with preexisting relationships, descended on the starting line at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the only stadium on earth to host the Olympic Games twice, for the thirteen edition of THE AMAZING RACE. After host Phil Keoghan informed the excited teams that the winner after eleven legs of racing would take home the one million dollar prize he raised his arm, wished them safe travel and sent the teams running through the arches of the coliseum to their bags.
After discovering they needed to fly to Salvador, Brazil on either American Flight 252 or United Flight 843, siblings Nick & Starr took the early lead out of the coliseum parking lot followed by newly dating couple Terence & Sarah who quickly made the bad choice of taking surface streets instead of the faster freeways.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
On the drive down to LAX, several teams reflected on the race that lay ahead and the obstacles they face. Single mother Toni remarked on her son, Dallas, "Because I've raised Dallas by myself, Dallas has taught me patience to persevere so I think I can bring that to the race." Separated wife Tina commented on her unfaithful spouse, Ken, "After Ken cheated, that was a very traumatic thing to go through and I have not let go of the past issues. I've forgiven, but I haven't forgotten." Married beekeeper Arthur, sporting a long white beard and a tied-dye shirt, said of himself and his wife Anita, "The other teams I think might see us as old hippies, maybe not competitive, but I don't think that's true at all."
NO FLAG, NO TICKET
Long distance dating couple Aja & Ty wisely took the carpool lane to arrive at the Park One parking lot in first place and kept their lead as they entered the American terminal knowin g that Flight 252 would land in Salvador first. However, when the couple couldn't find the familiar red and yellow flags marking the counter to purchase the tickets, they simply waited in the general line with other would-be passengers. Separated couple Ken & Tina, divorcees Kelly & Christy, and best friends Mark & Bill soon joined the confused Aja & Ty in the American terminal, but Bill knew something was wrong when he didn't see the flag. He and Mark, along with Ken & Tina kept searching and, after running through a corridor discovered another row of American counters and the red and yellow flag.
While Mark & Bill and Ken & Tina booked their tickets on the earlier American flight, Aja & Ty and Kelly & Christy continued to wait in the wrong line as mother and son Toni & Dallas, dating couple Anthony & Stephanie, frat boys Andrew & Dan, and southern belles Marisa & Brooke all joined them equally confused about seeing no flags.
Meanwhile, newly dating couple Terence & Sarah, who made the mistake of taking surface streets to LAX, promptly regained their lost time by running to the correct counter behind Ken & Tina to snag the third set of tickets on the American flight.
THE MAD DASH
With the arrival of siblings Nick & Starr at the wrong counter, Aja & Ty asked an attendant for the flagged airline counter and she directed them through the corridor setting off a stampede of seven Teams. The mad dash for tickets on the first flight ended with Nick & Starr at the front, followed by Aja & Ty, and Kelly & Christy. Knowing there wouldn't be enough room on the flight for them, dating couple Anthony & Stephanie, southern belles Marisa & Brooke and married beekeepers Anita & Arthur all walked to the United Terminal while frat boys Andrew & Dan and mother and son Toni & Dallas still held out hope at the back of the line. The bespectacled Dan continued to worry as Nick & Starr, Aja & Ty, and Kelly & Christy all made it on the American flight scheduled to land three hours ahead of the United flight. When Andrew & Dan finally made it to the counter, they received the bad news that there was no more room left on the flight. They would be on the United flight with Toni & Dallas, Anthony & Stephanie, Marisa & Brooke, and Anita & Arthur.
AN ALLIANCE FORMS
Before the American flight took off, siblings Nick & Starr approached separated couple Ken & Tina about working together in what Starr termed "a loose alliance." The couple agreed to this with Ken commenting, "Nick & Starr, they're really sweet people. They're very athletic. They're competitive. They're bright and I think that us in an alliance with them is probably a positive thing at this point."
Landing an hour and a half later than expected in Salvador, Brazil, best friends Mark & Bill took an early lead out of the airport en route to the sandwich shop known as O Rei Do Pernil. Divorcees Kelly & Christy snagged the second taxi, but quickly discovered that their driver didn't know where to go, pushing them down to sixth place, last among the teams on the first flight. Arriving at O Rei Do Pernil in first place, best friends Mark & Bill opened their clue to discover they had to choose a local vending cart, wheel it through the narrow streets of Salvador to a popular plaza known as Praca Da Se, and deliver the cart to Indio in exchange for their next clue.
Initially, Mark & Bill had trouble keeping all of the assorted candy and food on the small, narrow cart as they tried to maneuver it through the bumpy streets. However, Mark came up with the idea to wrap his jacket around the boxes to keep them from falling off. Later Mark commented, "We have a very, very good set of intuitive skills that we can look at a situation and make a plan and act on it all in a split second."
With Sarah's fluency in Portuguese as a tremendous asset, newly dating couple Terence & Sarah caught up to best friends Mark & Bill as both teams delivered their carts to Indio. Opening their clues, they learned they had to travel by taxi to a Brazilian military base where they would spend the night outdoors under mosquito nets. Once there, they had to sign in for one of three departure times the following morning: 9:00am, 9:30am, or 9:45am.
After Terence & Sarah, Mark & Bill, siblings Nick & Starr, and separated couple Ken & Tina all took the 9:00am departures, long distance dating couple Aja & Ty along with divorcees Kelly & Christy settled for the 9:30am departure leaving one 9:30am departure for a team from the second flight. Frat boys Andrew & Dan, after their disappointment at LAX, made up as much ground as possible when they landed in Salvador and were rewarded with the final 9:30 departure, leaving Marisa & Brooke, Anthony & Stephanie, Toni & Dallas, and Anita & Arthur to depart at 9:45am the next morning.
FRIENDS AND ENEMIES
At the overnight hold, a potential romance began to brew between Starr and Dallas as they conversed about their long first day. Starr commented, "[Dallas] is just the most attractive guy on the race. I'm not expecting any great sparks or flames, but who knows? Anything can happen."
After the sun rose on a beautiful morning in Salvador, Brazil, the four lead teams opened their clue at 9:00am that directed them to the historic center of city known as Pelourinho. In the mad dash for taxis, Sarah quipped to siblings Nick & Starr, "Not so easy to find a taxi," but the siblings either didn't hear her or chose not to respond. An irate Sarah later said, "I just have to learn my lesson and stop trying to be nice to them."
A DANGEROUS DETOUR
Finding the cluebox at a church in Pelourinho, Terence & Sarah, Mark & Bill, and Nick & Starr all encountered the first Detour of the race, choosing between Hard Way Up and Soft Way Down. In Hard Way Up, teams made their way to the staircase of a nearby cathedral called Escadaria do Passo where, knowing they would be asked a mystery question, they had climb the stone staircase on their hands and knees as locals do for a spiritual pledge. At the top, they'll be asked the mystery question to earn their next clue. If they're wrong, they had to climb the stairs again. In Soft Way Down, teams made their way to an outdoor elevador known as Elevador Lacerda and climb down a cargo net to the street 240-feet below.
Siblings Nick & Starr led the charge down the cargo net, but first took a moment to compose themselves before starting the nerve wracking descent. Starr gasped, "Yikes, kind of a long way." Following the siblings on the shaky cargo net were their alliance members, Ken & Tina who tried to gain ground on Nick & Starr in spite of Tina's fear of heights.
When both teams reached the bottom of the cargo net, they opened their clues instructing them to travel to the Pit Stop at Forte Sao Marcelo, a floating battlement that once defended the city from pirates. While Ken & Tina quickly got into a taxi, Nick & Starr wisely asked locals who told them they could run to the docks to catch a boat to the fort. The time spent getting in and out of the taxi made the difference for Ken & Tina as siblings Nick & Starr took the first boat alone to claim victory. For their win, Nick & Starr were rewarded with a trip for two from Travelocity to Belize.
As every other Team began their terrifying descent down the cargo net to the street below, only frat boys Andrew & Dan opted to climb the cathedral stairs in hopes of gaining an advantage. The frat boys endured the pain of the hard, cold stone on their knees as they slowly made their way to the top of the staircase where a samba drummer waited with the mystery question. When the finally reached the summit, they groaned when the drummer asked them how many stairs they had climbed because neither had counted.
After a failed guess, Andrew & Dan had to return to the bottom of the stairs to climb them once again having wasted valuable time as the other teams continued to scale the cargo net. This time the frat boys counted out loud in a race against elimination as Toni & Dallas, Kelly & Kristy, and Aja & Ty all finished descending the cargo net. Once at the top again, Andrew & Dan correctly guessed 53 steps to finish the day in seventh place just ahead of long distance dating couple Aja & Ty.
With elimination looming, the race to the fort came down to dating couple Anthony & Stephanie, southern belles Marisa & Brooke, and married beekeepers Anita & Arthur who ultimately came up short. A tearful Anita commented, "We know we gave it all we had and that's the most important thing." Arthur added, "The race for me is doing this with Anita, doing this with ten other incredible couples. It's a privilege. It's just a total privilege."
1301 ROUTE MARKERS Road Block: N/A
Detour: A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons. In this Detour, teams had to choose between Hard Way Up and Soft Way Down. In Hard Way Up, teams made their way to the staircase of a nearby cathedral called Escadaria do Passo where, knowing they would be asked a mystery question, they had climb the stone staircase on their hands and knees as locals do for a spiritual pledge. At the top, they'll be asked the mystery question to earn their next clue. If they're wrong, they had to climb the stairs again. In Soft Way Down, Teams made their way to an outdoor elevador known as Elevador Lacerda and climb down a cargo net to the street 240-feet below.