One of the biggest challenges we face planning the race is dealing withunpredictable weather. Paragliding is such a fantastic challenge for aplace like Germany, but of course, when you’re dangling from a fewstrings and a big piece of nylon it’s a good idea to make sure you onlylaunch when the experts tell you conditions are absolutely perfect. Iactually had my first solo flight when I was on a shoot in Chile and wehad to wait a couple of days for the right weather…not an option whenyou are running a race in real time.
Of course, if Race was set in a studio we wouldn’t have to factor in the weather but we also wouldn’t have the great moment that occurred when Mel was able to soar over other teams who decided to run down the mountain instead of waiting for the right weather. Mel’s ongoing groin injury forced that decision, and this time it paid off big time. There were a lot of cell phones going off between production members when we all realized we had captured another great game changer. As I travel along the course I pick up key story points and then rely on event producers to call them in to me once I’m at the mat. Sometimes geography prevents those calls from getting through but information always makes its way to the mat as more and more teams and production members arrive.
The long trail down from the 6,000-foot mountain really took its toll on the other teams. Linda became completely overwhelmed when she took a few too many wrong turns and found herself slipping into last place. In the end, Steve and Linda were never able to recover. Their emotional finish continued well into the night as a number of us tried to comfort them at the pit stop. Don’t forget we have only been on the go now for a few days and the realization that it’s all over is a lot to take. Teams can’t help but go back through the day and talk about the what-ifs.
I’m not sure if you’re ever tried a Segway but they are awesome. I love seeing them being used in more and more practical applications, police force, airport personal, etc. I met a guy who was confined to a wheelchair the other day and he said being able to move while standing up has completely changed his whole mindset. I digress…so the teams get the chance to ride a two-mile obstacle course and then more mayhem. Why is it that pies in the face always get a laugh? Not so funny for Margie and Luke, who got seriously creamed for longer than any one, and so funny for me when they arrived at the mat covered in sour smelling cream! Just be thankful that you didn’t have to smell the scent of racer’s sweat mixed with cherry and stale cream.
How many times have we seen a team stumble because of a simple clue? Fourteen races and it’s still happening. Christie and Jodi found themselves completely flummoxed as they aimlessly picked up random pieces of wood hoping they would find their next clue. It was a tough leg for them.
We are building up to a mat meltdown. Stay tuned!
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