Author Topic: Season 30 Racer's Insights  (Read 11169 times)

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Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Season 30 Racer's Insights
« on: February 03, 2018, 04:27:49 PM »
Hey RFF Fam! Just wanted to drop in and say :yourock:! My family was super appreciative of your detective work during filming, so thank you for easing their concern for me & Kristi while we were gone.

If you have any questions about the season, please feel free to holler at me here!
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline Maanca

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2018, 04:33:30 PM »
Hi, Jen! Have really been enjoying the level of insight in your recap blogs.


Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2018, 04:46:33 PM »
Hi, Jen! Have really been enjoying the level of insight in your recap blogs.

Thank you, Maanca! So glad. They've been fun to write. I always had so many questions about the race and what racer's were actually experiencing, but never knew this forum existed! It was such a privilege to be on the race, so I just want to share as much as possible.
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2018, 04:48:26 PM »
 :bigwelcome Jen!!

So happy to have you here!!

I love your blogs as well, we are pretty addicted to details around here!
"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."Phil Keoghan

Offline DavidJunior

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2018, 05:13:31 PM »
Hey Jen!

Welcome to RFF!  It was great getting to meet you officially at the Episode 3 viewing up in SF a couple weeks ago!


Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2018, 05:20:58 PM »
Hi David!! It was great meeting you too! Thank you for coming out :)
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline Marionete

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2018, 06:39:31 PM »
So nice to see you here Jen! Kristi & you are doing so awesome on the race, I hope you are the first team ever to have all TOP3 finishes, haha!

Were you guys fans of the race/knew the race before, or did you get asked to do this season? Love you on the show regardless, just curious. :)

Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2018, 07:58:52 PM »
So nice to see you here Jen! Kristi & you are doing so awesome on the race, I hope you are the first team ever to have all TOP3 finishes, haha!

Were you guys fans of the race/knew the race before, or did you get asked to do this season? Love you on the show regardless, just curious. :)

Thank you! We shall see :)

I was a huge fan of the race before getting casted. My sister and I loved both TAR and Survivor and watched full seasons early on but then fell off for a bit. Then my ski coach and I started watching TAR again around season 15. Any time we had to do crazy shenanigans while traveling for skiing, we would be like "we should apply for Amazing Race!" So, in 2013, I applied to Amazing Race with my ski coach, but never heard back.

The following year I applied to Survivor and made it really far along in casting, but ultimately they didn't move forward with putting me on the show. They told me they'd hang onto my application video in case I was a fit down the road. I didn't take them seriously at all... Then this summer, I got a text from a casting recruiter saying they came across my application video for Survivor and asked if I wanted to go on Amazing Race! They explained the premise of the season and I immediately knew Kristi had to be my partner.

Kristi had seen the show, and always loved the premise, but never watched consistently. We did binge watch nearly all the recent seasons before leaving for the race though! And talked through various scenarios to see how we would approach things.

So, in a nutshell, we're hybrid fans/recruits. Haha! Hope that helps :)
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline Xoruz

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2018, 08:59:41 PM »
Hi Jen,

Congrats to you & Kristi on winning your second leg. It was awesome watching you and every team start in NYC. Thanks for being so involved in answering questions.

Six legs in, who did you think was you're biggest competition? Also, what were you feeling when you arrived in Washington Square Park?

Online BourkieBoy

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2018, 09:01:09 PM »
HELLO JEN!!!!

You guys are one of your favourite teams this season! I really do hope you go very far this Race!
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Offline TARUSAFan

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2018, 10:00:31 PM »
Hi Jen,

It's great to see you here on RFF! I am so glad that we had another F/F team of your calibre. Very strong and very competitive. Your team is my winner's pick.

Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2018, 10:59:36 PM »
Hi Jen,

Congrats to you & Kristi on winning your second leg. It was awesome watching you and every team start in NYC. Thanks for being so involved in answering questions.

Six legs in, who did you think was you're biggest competition? Also, what were you feeling when you arrived in Washington Square Park?

Thanks so much! Winning that second leg was a huge confidence booster for us. We were bummed about France (those could/should have been 2 other first place finishes) so it felt good to know we had it in us to finish first again!

At this point we knew that our average was really good, but were well aware it could change at ANY time. Any team that had a win, which was just about every team left except for the Twins were on our radar. (No offense guys, we still love you!) We felt most vulnerable with Yale because we felt like they would u-turn us if they had the opportunity. We had developed really strong relationships with Indy, Jody & OceanRescue so despite all of them having won a leg, we felt good about going to the F3 with any of them.

As for what we felt in Washington Square Park? Pure joy, excitement, and appreciation for this opportunity. The turnout there was far beyond anything I had every imagined. I was just thrilled to be outside and about to be competing for the next 25ish days straight! I really do love competition :)
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2018, 11:02:45 PM »
Hi Jen,

It's great to see you here on RFF! I am so glad that we had another F/F team of your calibre. Very strong and very competitive. Your team is my winner's pick.

Thank you!!! Hope we make you proud :)
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2018, 11:03:39 PM »
HELLO JEN!!!!

You guys are one of your favourite teams this season! I really do hope you go very far this Race!

Thanks so much! We hope to go far as well!  :hfive:
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline maf

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2018, 02:05:12 PM »
Hi, I'm another one who greatly appreciate your blog. I love the peek behind the curtains as well as the insight in how you thought about the different elements. I also very much like to see strong teams racing, specially all female ones so you guys fit the bill perfectly.

And now I have a couple of questions as well.

First a small fill in a missing detail question. Which route did you fly from Marsielle to Prague?

Secondly a slightly more involved question. I assume there is some temptation to bend the speed limits a bit whenever there is a self-driving leg. And in earlier seasons we have seen racers get busted by the police for speeding. But I have heard rumors about production having some sort of device to deter speeding. I would greatly appreciate if you were able confirm this and clarify how that works.

Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2018, 11:38:30 AM »
Hi, I'm another one who greatly appreciate your blog. I love the peek behind the curtains as well as the insight in how you thought about the different elements. I also very much like to see strong teams racing, specially all female ones so you guys fit the bill perfectly.

And now I have a couple of questions as well.

First a small fill in a missing detail question. Which route did you fly from Marsielle to Prague?

Secondly a slightly more involved question. I assume there is some temptation to bend the speed limits a bit whenever there is a self-driving leg. And in earlier seasons we have seen racers get busted by the police for speeding. But I have heard rumors about production having some sort of device to deter speeding. I would greatly appreciate if you were able confirm this and clarify how that works.

Hi maf! Thanks for the support.

The first flight to Prague was Marseille > Barcelona > Prague. I believe the second flight was Marseille > Brussels > Prague. Those of us on flight #1 slept a few hours on the floor in the Barcelona airport. Unfortunately, our flight leaving Marseille was delayed about an hour, so it cut into our sleep time. From what I recall, flight #2 hunkered down in Marseille for some sleep since their flight through Brussels departed the next morning. It took some digging, but flight #1 was a Vueling flight from Marseille > Barcelona > Prague. They only offer this flight a few days a week. Sometimes it arrives at 10 am, sometimes at 10:35, other times at 10:45, which makes it difficult to search. (See attachments).

As far as the speed limits... Before the race we have a giant safety/security meeting. We were told the most dangerous thing that we would do would be self-driving. They're not lying. Safety is their number one concern, understandably. You don't realize how difficult it is to drive with a camera in your face (especially if it's dark out and their light is blinding you). The cameraman completely blocks your view out the passenger side window/mirror. He/she will always move if you need them to, but it's tricky...

This season, production put the power in the hands of the camera & sound guys/gal (there was one female on the sound crew this year, Ali, and she was RAD!!). The basic rule was that if they felt unsafe, they could tell us to slow down. They gave some general limits (no more than 10 over the speed limit on freeways, for example), and if we were violating the speed limit, our crew would warn us and tell us to slow down. Or, if they felt unsafe (even if we weren't speeding) they could tell us to slow down. If we continued to violate it, they'd give us a time penalty. This, of course, is a bit subjective. Driving with Indy Car drivers, you're probably not going to ever feel unsafe...haha! But for the most part, I think people stayed in line. There's certainly no more variance in speeding in a self-drive leg as there is to having a good/bad taxi in a non-self-drive leg.
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline Alenaveda

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2018, 12:05:37 PM »
Hi, Jen! Glad to have you here! After six legs you and Kristi are definitelty my fav team of the season.

Now..., before starting the race did you have a planned strategy or topics on how to approach the different difficulties you could face along the way? And if that was the case (and talking about the six legs aired) did you need to make changes or adjust it once on the race?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 12:17:09 PM by Alenaveda »
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Offline georgiapeach

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2018, 12:12:29 PM »
Thanks so much Jen! We love details around here. Our WIKImaster will be ecstatic to have flight confirmation!

We love self driving legs and are happy to see them again. Were you given instructions about needing to be able to drive stick pre-race as well this season? That has been variable in the past.

"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."Phil Keoghan

Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2018, 12:55:38 PM »
Hi, Jen! Glad to have you here! After six legs you and Kristi are definitelty my fav team of the season.

Now..., before starting the race did you have a planned strategy or topics on how to approach the different difficulties you could face along the way? And if that was the case (and talking about the six legs aired) did you need to make changes or adjust it once on the race?

Awe, thanks Alenaveda!! That means a lot. There are so many likable teams this year. We felt really lucky to get along with everyone. I know drama makes the show a bit more interesting, but selfishly, it was nice to not get mixed up in it!

Kristi and I watched a lot of the show before leaving. We would talk about different scenarios, who would do what Roadblock, etc. We're obviously both pretty physical, but with my history of knee injuries, we opted for having Kristi do more of the seemingly "physical" tasks. Kristi has a history of concussions, so her memory isn't quite as solid as mine, so we'd have me do the more mental tasks. This is of course based on very little information, so we did our best at assessing the location, not just how the question was phrased. So far, the Roadblocks we've each performed have been completely suited to our strengths.

The other thing we discussed was how hard it would be to be together 24/7 for 30 days! We addressed the fact that we'd probably have moments of complete meltdowns, screaming fits, f*ckups and more. Haha! Production has been been kind in not showing too much of them, though the bits that I've seen, sounded way worse in my head than they appeared in the show. We decided that we'd take nothing personally, that we were both there for the same reason, to be a kick-ass all female team, to make the F3 and become the 4th F/F team to win - some say this is insignificant because it's been done before, but it hasn't been done enough. We were serious about this goal and weren't going to let interpersonal drama get in the way of it.

Both of us have an insane competitive drive and focus, almost to a fault. We were caught off-guard about the "race-blind" phenomenon that makes you miss obvious details (like the perfect pour sign in the brewery or not getting a map in Iceland for a self-drive leg). It took a conscious effort to slow down and THINK before we started running/racing/driving. You can't even imagine the amount of adrenaline you feel during this race.

Also, the self-drive was much more difficult than we anticipated and we had a lot of it! The other piece that started getting to me going to Zimbabwe actually, was the amount that the "not-knowing-what's-coming" scenario would have on me. I would spend too much energy trying to anticipate what production had planned. It would drive me mad. We would research every detail of every place we were going before arriving and try to anticipate what was coming. Might have been better served doing a little less of that...

Oh, we also discussed U-Turns and Alliances. We decided that we would only use a U-Turn if we were in the back of the pack and HAD to use it. Otherwise, we didn't feel it was worth the risk of potentially making an enemy or at the very least losing the trust of our fellow racers. As far as alliances, we did NOT want to make any rigid alliances. I don't think there is a blanket right and wrong answer for alliances. I think a lot of it depends on the kind of racer you are, how strong of a team you are, what type of game you're playing, how you're seen by your competition, etc. We took the approach of forming genuine relationships with teams on the race. Trying to get to know who they were OUTSIDE of the race context. But we were always mindful of the conversations happening around us, the teams that spent more or less time together, and so on. At this point in the race a few teams had agreed about teams that they felt threatened by or didn't trust (not who you may think), so we definitely had some soft agreements in place.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 01:11:35 PM by Jen #TeamExtreme »
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Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2018, 01:01:59 PM »
Thanks so much Jen! We love details around here. Our WIKImaster will be ecstatic to have flight confirmation!

We love self driving legs and are happy to see them again. Were you given instructions about needing to be able to drive stick pre-race as well this season? That has been variable in the past.

It was strongly recommended that you know how to drive stick, but it wasn't a requirement. There was no test you had to pass... We also had to go and get an international driver's license (which I've never done before despite driving internationally quite a bit). Apparently, Jess doesn't even have a driver's license of any kind, so she was never going to be driving a vehicle during the race.

Both Kristi and I know how to drive stick, but I had a bit more experience than her. She also had a traumatic experience driving stick during a personal trip to France, LOL, so she was a little gun-shy. We we defaulted to me being the driver and Kristi handling the navigation, but occasionally switched it up, like leaving the Roadblock in Iceland when I got soaking wet and wanted to change in the car.
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline Marionete

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2018, 01:21:14 PM »
Wow, I love how much you go into detail! Seriously, thank you for coming here and interacting with us fans.

At this point in the race a few teams had agreed about teams that they felt threatened by or didn't trust (not who you may think), so we definitely had some soft agreements in place.
Haha, that's such a teaser!
I completely understand if you cannot/don't want to elaborate, but I'd be really interested to find out more about the dynamics between teams. :)

Offline Declive

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2018, 01:38:39 PM »
Welcome, Jen! So cool to have you here.

Congratulations on a great run so far! Showing the girls power!  :yourock:
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Offline Declive

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2018, 01:43:03 PM »
Welcome, Jen! So cool to have you here.

Congratulations on a great run so far! Showing the girls power!  :yourock:

By the way, i have a question too.

When you're on the race, do you have ANY idea of what place you're in or you are just like ALWAYS worried not knowing anything?

This question is because i, like most of the people here, always dreamed of being on the race. How could you be so secure while racing it?

Thanks for being in the forum to share those questions with us and again, congrats on winning two legs so far! Hope you guys can make it to the final!
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Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2018, 02:03:23 PM »
Wow, I love how much you go into detail! Seriously, thank you for coming here and interacting with us fans.

At this point in the race a few teams had agreed about teams that they felt threatened by or didn't trust (not who you may think), so we definitely had some soft agreements in place.
Haha, that's such a teaser!
I completely understand if you cannot/don't want to elaborate, but I'd be really interested to find out more about the dynamics between teams. :)

My pleasure, Marionete! I want to preface this by saying that these opinions/perspectives/views are entirely in the context of a race for $1,000,000. My statements are only reflecting upon what I saw/felt/believed during the race in no way reflect my opinion of them in their real lives as real people. We all came in as complete strangers and are only now starting to get to know each other on any meaningful level.

Now that that is out of the way, Kristi & I felt most vulnerable with Yale. We heard them discussing U-Turn strategy at dinner, stating that they'd use a U-Turn to eliminate a strong team. Well, Kristi & I were aware enough to know we had the best average of any team at this point, so it made us uneasy. We also felt that they were a threatening team to have in the F3 because there are so often memory challenges. They had notecards (granted, we kept excessive notes as well), were always sneaking off to do research (haha, we were too) and felt that they would be very prepared for a final leg. In many ways, they were most like us strategy-wise, and we knew we were good. LOL!

We got along really well with Indy, Ocean Rescue, and Jody. As well as the Firefighters, but didn't interact with Daniel & Eric quite as much as the other teams. Of course we adored Well-Strung, they're impossible not to love. If it weren't for a slip-up in France, they'd still be in the race and we may have started keeping a close watch on them. They were a strong team and got along well with Yale, which made me speculate about possible alliances forming around us. Also, Chris is SOOOO competitive. They really didn't show this thoroughly with his edit. I'd say the Prague leg was when the dynamics of teams  really started to become meaningful.
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho

Offline Jen #TeamExtreme

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Re: Season 30 Racer's Insights
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2018, 02:28:19 PM »
Welcome, Jen! So cool to have you here.

Congratulations on a great run so far! Showing the girls power!  :yourock:

By the way, i have a question too.

When you're on the race, do you have ANY idea of what place you're in or you are just like ALWAYS worried not knowing anything?

This question is because i, like most of the people here, always dreamed of being on the race. How could you be so secure while racing it?

Thanks for being in the forum to share those questions with us and again, congrats on winning two legs so far! Hope you guys can make it to the final!

Thank you, Declive!! I appreciate that you think we appear secure, but man, there is SO much doubt!

Kristi and I had seen enough of the race to know that ANYTHING can happen. We also knew that if we were struggling with something, we probably weren't alone. The keg Detour in Prague is a perfect example of this. We got lost for a LONG time (see my most recent blog: https://jenhudak.com/amazing-race-30-6/). We figured teams that went to the other detour were probably done and at the Roadblock or at the mat for that reason... Keep in mind, we had no idea what the other Detour was. You get recalibrated when you get to the next clue box because you can see how many clues are remaining. When we got to the Roadblock, we were like WTH?! We're in first?!

We know that getting frazzled doesn't help us execute, and that we need to continue racing our best until we step foot on that mat and Phil tell's us we're out. So, when things get hard, we often try to pause and regroup. Easier said than done of course.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 02:48:19 PM by Jen #TeamExtreme »
“‎Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.” Matsuo Basho