Sweet Scientists Maya (left) and Amy (right) must make their way through the Philippines in search of the next clue on Episode 11 of The Amazing Race 25.
Leg 11: Philippines
Here we are, at the penultimate leg of the 25th edition of The Amazing Race -- just one more week until it'll all be over.
The bad news: Our gals, UW-Madison grad students Amy and Maya, the #SweetScientists, ended up in last place on this leg.
The good news: No one was eliminated, which means this is the first time in 24 seasons that four teams will compete in the finale. In the past, the final leg has just featured only three teams.
At the end of my last recap, I mentioned how exhausted Amy was looking in the preview for this episode. Sure enough, she was being treated for what appeared to be minor heatstroke after the team reached host Phil Koeghan at the Pit Stop.
Both Amy and Maya have been going very strong over the last few legs, and they're the only all-female team still in the running. Not to make it about gender or anything, but the other three teams each have a strong man on their team -- and by strong man, I mean a guy who works out and is generally way more athletic than the average person. So, to have gotten this far on tenacity and spirit and wits is an accomplishment worth highlighting.
Now let's dig into the challenges. Sometimes just reaching these diversions strikes me as being nearly as harrowing as actually completing them, and this leg opened with a great example of that. The teams had to navigate public transportation, including a transfer, in a nation (the Philippines) where hardly any of the team members speak the primary language ... a task that sounds like a nightmare to me. I'm getting almost as anxious thinking about it as I would be while contemplating any of the other challenges from this season.
Once the teams got to where the Detour cards were at, they then had to decide blindly if they wanted to tackle "This" or "That," not knowing down what path either option would lead them. With "This," the competitors had to take on a neighborhood basketball team; for "That," they had to race bicycle-sidecar contraptions called "padyaks" around a course in just under 18 minutes.
#TheWrestlers Brooke and Robbie, and #SoulSurfers Adam and Bethany, went with the basketball game, the highlight being Robbie's ring-tested, over-the-top flopping ability. #TheDentists Misti and Jim, as well as Amy and Maya, selected the other challenge, and both teams went all-out, each member taking turns piloting the rickety bikes while their partner rode in the sidecar. Amy took a fair amount of time getting the steering of the bike down and ended up side-swiping a sedan, but in the end both teams came in under time.
After a short jeepney ride following the Detour, all four teams ended up at the Roadblock, which asked the whimsical question, "Who goes cuckoo for coconuts?" Setting aside the fact that the original reference has nothing to do with coconuts, it turns out that its cheekily punning title was not in proportion to how difficult the task was.
This was a grueling challenge on a hot day, after which Amy and Maya ended up at the tail end of the pack. Amy was already running on fumes even before she had to lug cumbersome loads of coconut-related products all over a market, and this almost did her in -- and would have ultimately ended the race for the #SweetScientists if this round was an elimination leg.
This Pit Stop, though, turned out to be the beginning of the next and final leg of the race, as the teams immediately departed for Los Angeles to wrap up this whole thing. Until next week's grand conclusion, I'll leave you with this: Amy and Maya compare Madison to Manila.
Keep up with the #SweetScientists and view images of them racing on the team's Facebook page.