The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Winners – Anthony and Bates

Anthony and Bates Battaglia
Anthony and Bates Battaglia

After 25 days, over 30,000 miles, and 10 countries on 5 continents, Season 22 of The Amazing Race wrapped up last night with a blowout finish that left the hockey-playing brothers, Anthony (@fazo11) and Jonathan “Bates” Battaglia (@BatesBattaglia), as the winners of the one million dollar grand prize. The team not only finished with the cash prize, but picked up some nice first-place rewards along the way, including a trip to London, a trip to Phuket, a trip to Bora Bora, and $7,500 each. The Yak wrangled these two as best as anyone could to discuss their winnings, the race and a potential love interest in the Country singers, Caroline and Jen.


The Yak: That was quite a finish last night! Congratulations on winning The Amazing Race! It must be an incredible feeling.
Anthony: Thank you very much. It’s absolutely incredible. The whole ride and everything. It was pretty cool to hang out with the fans and taking photos. Bates is pretty used to it being an NHL player and having people want photos with him, but it’s pretty new for me. It’s cool to have people be my fans.

The Yak: How do you think this has changed your future?
Anthony: We have a new show coming up. It’s called…
Bates: “Hashtag: Hockey Brothers Do America”
Anthony: We’re pitching it. Just the two of us. Doing America. [Anthony and Bates laugh]

The Yak: People would probably watch that. So, everyone wants to know, what do you have planned for the money?
Bates: I was planning on getting Anthony new teeth, but he’s already going to get them himself, so now I really don’t know what to do.
Anthony: Bates has pretty much been taking care of me for a while now, and he’s taken me on a lot of trips, so I think I’m going to take him on a trip. Now that I have a little bit of pocket change.

The Yak: Bates, which is tougher: The Amazing Race or playing professional hockey? Also, do you think the intensity of the race is equal to the Stanley Cup Finals?
Bates: The Amazing Race is a lot tougher than you think. You watch it on T.V. and you think, “Oh, I can do that,” but it’s a lot tougher than you think. Don’t get me wrong, we made it look easy. [Bates makes a superhero noise “Baa-Baa-Baaaaa!” and Bates and Anthony laugh] Seriously, though, it was tough.

The Yak: I know that you filmed the race back in November 2012, but if the NHL Lockout hadn’t happened [October 2012-January 2013], would you have still been able to race?
Bates: Actually, going into it, I thought I was going to do the race and retire. That was it, so I did the race, and either way I knew I was going to retire.
The Yak: It seems like the decision worked out well for you.
Bates: Well, it wasn’t a bad situation. [laughs]

The Yak: So, you lost your bag somewhere along the race. Do you think that was actually an advantage since you didn’t have the extra weight to carry around, or would you have rather had your personal belongings?
Bates: Well, it was tough enough carrying my brother the whole time.
Anthony: Oh yeah? [laughs]
Bates: Actually, it makes you realize that you pack too much. You don’t even need that stuff. Honestly, if I had to do it again, I’d pack at least half of the stuff.
Anthony: Minus the brother, I guess.
Bates: And minus a brother, too.

The Yak: How close did you get with the country singers? Is there anything serious there or is there anything long-term for the future?
Anthony: Who are you talking about?
Bates: The country singers?
Anthony: Who is that? I don’t even know.
Bates: Kenny Chesney?
The Yak: I get the hint.
Bates: No, we’re really good friends. It’s funny. We actually got to be pretty good friends with the country singers [Caroline and Jen] and with the newlyweds [Max and Katie].
Anthony: Shockingly. I know not a lot of people liked them, but we really got to be good friends with them.

Anthony and Bates Deliver Food in Northern Ireland
Anthony and Bates Deliver Food in Northern Ireland

The Yak: So, obviously, you’ve kept in touch since the race has ended?
Bates: Absolutely, yeah. We’ve definitely kept in touch with them. The Roller Girls [Mona and Beth], we’re really good friends with them. You see each other every day, so you end up being really good friends with them.

The Yak: What was the biggest surprise that you weren’t expecting when going into the race?
Anthony: It was definitely harder than it looks.
Bates: We thought going into it, we were thinking we could crush all the competition and it’s going to be super easy. Whoever they put in front of us, we’re going to crush them. Then, we get there and it’s so much tougher than it looks. We obviously had trouble. We almost came in last a couple of times, but we persevered, and we came out on top. It was much tougher than it looks on T.V.

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race when you found out you had been picked?
Anthony: I drank a lot of beer.
Bates: You did?
Anthony: Yeah, I did.
Bates: Oh, you drank a lot of beer. I thought I drank a lot of beer.
Anthony: We both drank a lot of beer.
Bates: And look what happened. We’re super quick!
Anthony: Super quick!
Bates: We’re light on our tippy-toes!
Anthony: [laughs] Tippy-toes.

Anthony and Bates Celebrate Winning $1 MIllion
Anthony and Bates Celebrate Winning $1 MIllion

The Yak: What was your favorite spot to visit?
Bates: We thought Africa was pretty sweet. I never thought I would be in Africa, and then we saw all these elephants.
Anthony: Plus, we can say we skied with crocodiles.
Bates: Yeah, with crocodiles.
Anthony: Who else can say they water skied with crocodiles? I know I can. Not too many people can say that.
Bates: I think it’s unbelievable.

The Yak: Aside from your upcoming reality show, what’s next for the two of you?
[Anthony and Bates laugh]
Bates: I wish that was a real thing, but… [Anthony laughs] I don’t know.
Anthony: We’re just living life. Hanging out. Being super…
Bates: Idiots.
Anthony: Super idiots!
Bates: Super idiots.
Anthony: We’re super idiots, but sweet guys.

The Yak: You’re super idiot, sweet guys who are a million dollars richer now. Congrats again to the both of you. Thanks for chatting with us!
Bates: Thanks.
Anthony: Any time!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Max and Katie

Max and Katie Bichler
Max and Katie Bichler

Starting out a new marriage in front of millions of people around the globe isn’t your normal honeymoon, but that’s exactly what Max (@MrMaxBichler) and Katie Bichler (@KatherinBichler) did on The Amazing Race. The newlywed couple stumbled at the beginning of the race, but triumphed toward the end of the 12 legs of the race, bringing home 3 first place finishes in a row leading into the final leg. They weren’t able to overcome the powerhouse team of Anthony and Bates, who took home the grand prize, but they ended up with the 2nd place finish in a race around the world. The Yak got a moment to sit down with the newlyweds today to discuss what married life holds next for them.


The Yak: It was a close call at the end of the race last night. It was tough to watch, but I have to commend you on making it to the Final 3. Very few teams get the opportunity to race all the way from start to finish, so congratulations on that accomplishment.
Max: Thanks. 
Katie: Thank you!

The Yak: Obviously, you didn’t have a “normal” honeymoon by any means, but how did you enjoy the race and have you been able to take a regular honeymoon since you finished the race?
Max: No, we haven’t yet. We decided that we’d watch the race through in it’s entirety, and then we’re going to go away for our 1-year anniversary instead. It was probably the most public honeymoon that anybody’s ever taken, and we invited all of America to come along with us, so it was definitely interesting.

The Yak: Max, in the beginning of the last episode, you mentioned that you were concerned with beating Mona and Beth. Why did you think they were such strong competition, and do you regret how you played that last U-Turn?
Max: No, I think it was Bates and Anthony that said their greatest competition was Mona and Beth because Katie and I knew that our biggest competition was Bates and Anthony. Although we were friendly with Bates and Anthony and Caroline and Jen, and we like them all as people, Katie and I were there to win and we had planned on U-Turning Bates and Anthony in Scotland if we would have gotten there first. We didn’t get there first, and we arrived after them, so at that point, it was time to U-Turn whomever was in the back and buy yourself some insurance in case you get a flat tire or something along the way. We knew all along that Bates and Anthony were going to be a problem for us, but we never had a chance to get rid of them because in Vietnam, the U-Turn was pretty much an impotent U-Turn there because Dave and Conner had already eliminated themselves that morning, so we didn’t want to waste our U-Turn on that.

The Yak: Was was the biggest obstacle or fear that you overcame while you were on the race?
Max: I think learning how to race and be married at the same time. There’s a huge learning curve on the race, and the longer you’re in it, the better you get at it. Maybe we were getting better at the marriage thing, and we were also getting better at the racing thing at the same time, but that’s the biggest obstacle right there. Having two things that you’re trying to nurture at one time.

Max and Katie During the Second Leg
Max and Katie During the Second Leg

The Yak: What was your favorite place to visit?
Katie: It’s hard to pick just one place that’s my favorite because everything was so different, culturally. We loved Switzerland. That was awesome. Bora Bora was the most tropical paradise you could ever imagine. Those would be my top two.
Max: If we were going to take a honeymoon, we had considered Bora Bora initially, and we definitely confirmed our suspicion. It made us want to go back there. For a honeymoon, I don’t think you could beat it. It’s absolutely the most gorgeous place I’ve seen on this earth.

The Yak: What was the toughest challenge that you faced on the race?
Max: The most difficult was probably Cheese Hill, maybe.
Katie: Yeah, Cheese Hill was hard.
Max: Physically, Cheese Hill was probably the most difficult and demanding thing we did. We did pretty well, but it was really hard. I remember climbing up the ladder with the 50-pound wheels of cheese, and Katie looked at me and said, “Do you got this?” I said, “I think so,” and she said, “Good for you!” I thought was going to puke because I was so gassed and so winded. You have to remember, we were at elevation as well, so it compounded everything. Physically, that Switchback may have been the most demanding of all of them.

The Yak: Would you consider doing Amazing Race again or another reality type show?
Max: Yeah! Katie and I, in coming as close as we did to winning, all we think about now is an All-Star season or “Unfinished Business” because we feel like just when we started to get really good at the race and figure it out, that’s when it ended for us. We really think about it pretty much daily. Katie is also a huge reality fan, and I think Katie would go for just about anything else, reality-wise. [Katie laughs] I know she’s been pushing me toward some other shows, too, so we’ll see. You only get 15 minutes of fame with the race, but if it turns into something else, it’ll be awesome. If people liked us and they’d like to see more of us on something else, then that’d be a great compliment. If they hated us and they want to see more of us because they hate us so much, that would be just as good of a compliment.
The Yak: Just as long as they’re talking about you, right?
Max: Exactly! Just like Yogi Bera said, ” Half of them will hate you, half of them will love you, and the other half won’t know who you are.”

The Yak: Was there anything that really caught you by surprise while you were on the race? Maybe something you weren’t expecting before you went into it?
Max: Yeah, for me, it was how hard the race was, physically, with the travel. You’re not sleeping in a hotel bedroom, you’re sleeping on a beach or an airport floor or in a tent or a hammock, so that was the thing that caught me most by surprise. It’s just so hard on the body, and you see why people make really poor decisions, like when the clue said to take a train and they take a cab. You’re watching at home with a bag of potato chips, and you’re like, “Oh, you dummy! How could you be so stupid?” Well, you’re so stupid because you haven’t slept in a bed in 4 nights, you haven’t had a shower in 5 days, and you’re probably starving, so that’s like the trifecta right there.
The Yak: That seems to be the consensus amongst the teams. It’s much tougher than you expected it to be before going into the race.
Max: I think everything translates well over the television, except for that part of it. You don’t see me on a plane for 17 hours, you see a yellow line darting from Zurich to Botswana. It’s definitely much harder, and I know that Phil told all of us on Day 1 at the starting line, he said, “For some reason, everybody says at the Pit Stop on the first leg, it’s much harder than it looks. I don’t know why everyone thinks it looks so easy.” I just don’t think it translates to really show how difficult it really is.

Max and Katie Run Through a Task
Max and Katie Run Through a Task

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race once you found out you had been selected?
Katie: To prepare, we did a lot of homework on the past challenges, including every possible thing, like watching everyone’s exit interviews to see if they would have packed something differently or do something differently, so I definitely did my homework in that sense. Physically, we did cross fit, we ran with backpacks on, we did everything you possibly could to prepare.
Max: You could always do more, but we felt very physically prepared for the race, and mentally, we were pretty sharp. We knew capitals. We knew different flags. I think we felt very prepared going in, but nothing can really prepare you other than running it once. There’s too many unknowns out there, and it’s hard to say what you’re going to do when you’re under so much anxiety and so much stress. You can’t prepare yourself for that.

The Yak: What’s next for the both of you?
Katie: We’ve gone back to our normal lives. Everything is business as usual. We’re back to work.
Max: We’re waiting for the phone to ring, so help us by getting the phone ringing. We’ve got nothing right now, but we’re waiting for any opportunity that might happen.

The Yak: We’ll get the word out for you! Thanks for talking with us!
Max: Thank you!
Katie: Thank you, Yakkity Yaks!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Mona and Beth

Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere
Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere

In a race around the world, the Final 3 teams started the 12th Leg of The Amazing Race by making their way to London, England, where they enjoyed a pint of the UK’s finest brew, before they hopped a flight to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Once back on US soil, the teams raced their way to the Lincoln Memorial where they stood in the exact spot where Martin Luther King Jr gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. The teams also had to take their photo with the President of the United States (well, close enough anyway), play spy with 50 briefcase carrying agents, and play catch at Nationals Park. When all was said and done, the Roller Derby Moms, Mona Egender (@MonaEgender) and Beth Bandimere (@BethBandimere), ended up with a third place finish. The Yak chatted with the derby darling duo today to discuss their time on the race.


The Yak: It was such a bittersweet elimination last night. Knowing that the race was over, but it was great to see you finish at the same time. You definitely did something amazing by making it to the Final 3, as it was something that a lot of the other teams wished they could have done.
Beth: Absolutely.
Mona: We keep saying that, “We’re number 3!” [laughs] We were proud of ourselves, though. Not a lot of people get to say that they completed the whole race. Heck, not a whole lot of people even get to go on the show to begin with, so we were definitely proud of ourselves.

The Yak: So, now that the race has ended, what did your kids think about how you did?
Beth: Our kids are proud of us. Our littler ones, they were excited and loved it from the get-go. Our teenagers, last night, we got some texts from the older kids that said, “Wow, Mom! We’re really proud of you!” To hear that from your 16 year-old kid, it means a lot.
Mona: Hopefully, they think we’re a little bit cooler than they did before the show aired.

The Yak: In regards to the Serving Detour, how long did it actually take you to do it? Was it as long as it appeared on camera, and was it not obvious that the menu was right there for you to follow?
Mona: It felt like we were there for a week. In reality, I think we ended up finishing about 40 minutes behind the other two teams. I completely missed that menu. I did not see it at all. I just had tunnel-vision, and I knew that something was off, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. The second we figured it out, we busted right through that challenge. It was really frustrating to know that if I had opened my eyes and paid attention to detail like I said I would, we could have had a completely different outcome.
The Yak: That seems to happen to quite a few teams, where you get focused on the finish line and you miss important details. We’ve seen it time and time again, so I can understand how that could happen in the heat of the moment.
Mona: It’s funny. There’s this killer fatigue that sets in and you get tunnel-vision. I missed it, too, when we first got to the challenge, I didn’t see it either. We were so tired by that point. It was terrible.

The Yak: Of course, it’s well known that you’re on a Roller Derby team together. How was this experience compared to your roller derby experience?
Beth: It’s funny. Roller derby prepared us for this, so the feeling of a really intense competition was nothing new to us. I mean, we may take it to a whole different level. In regards to the physical part of it, in derby, we let people knock us down to the ground, so we were prepared for being physically uncomfortable. We also do a lot of sports psychology training, so we were able to decompress and then move on when we had a bad leg or bad task. So, it definitely helped us.

Mona and Beth Paddle Through Another Challenge
Mona and Beth Paddle Through Another Challenge

The Yak: Would you consider doing The Amazing Race again or perhaps another reality based show?
Mona: We would do it again in a heartbeat. If they called and said, “Fly out tomorrow!”, we’d be on a plane yesterday. It was such an amazing opportunity. Absolutely. We love stuff like this. We love competing. We love seeing the world. We love meeting all the people we did. It was so great. We would be down for anything.
Beth: It was hard, and it was difficult, but to be able to do it. I mean, how many people in their lifetime get to do something like that? What an amazing opportunity. The only reality show we probably wouldn’t do is Fear Factor, just because we’d be really afraid of what they’d make us eat.

The Yak: What do you think was the biggest obstacle or fear that you overcame during the race?
Mona: The biggest obstacle for us was navigating foreign countries and figuring out how to get places. We got lost a couple of times. We didn’t pay attention to detail. We definitely had tunnel-vision more than once, where we would run straight past a clue box or look at a clue and assume it says something that meant something completely opposite of what it actually did say. We just needed to take a breath, slow down, and really make sure we understood what we were doing before we got started.

The Yak: What was your favorite place from the race?
Beth: My favorite was probably Switzerland. I’ve always wanted to see the Alps, so that was really cool. Also, traversing the Eiger. It’s such a famous mountain, so getting to do that was unforgettable.
Mona: Skydiving in Bora Bora was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I mean, who gets to jump out of a helicopter in Tahiti? It was awesome. My favorite country was Switzerland, as well. I felt like I was home. I love the mountains. I love the snow. It was really cool to get to go up to the top of Europe and be on that glacier. It was really pretty.

The Yak: On the flip side of that, what was toughest challenge that you had encountered?
Beth [to Mona]: Whiskey Barrels?
Mona: Yeah, I would say the leg in Scotland, where we had a speed bump and then they U-Turned us. [laughs] Oh, my gosh, that was grueling. The bowling was a lot harder than it looked. It was really hard to roll a strike because that lane was not smooth. Then, to do the Whiskey Barrels at the end of a really long leg, those things were stinking heavy. They were probably…
Beth: A hundred…
Mona: A hundred and fifty pounds. Then, to have to roll those up hill was exhausting.
The Yak: It was impressive to see you complete that task, especially after having to do the other side of the U-Turn, as well as the Speed Bump.
Mona: Boy, if you could have smelled us, too. We were bad.
Beth: Plus, the haggis. Oh…
Mona: Yeah, it was haggis, manure, and Whiskey. It was lovely.

The Yak: What was the biggest surprise that you weren’t expecting before going on the race?
Beth: The biggest surprise? Hmmm…
Mona: That’s a hard question. I guess it was mainly underestimating the amount of rest that you would get, plus the Pit Stops and the hunger. You would go days without sleeping. The show doesn’t always accurately depict how tiring it is.
The Yak: It makes sense, in that we see you sleep in some odd places, but we don’t really get a sense of how much sleep you’re actually getting.
Mona: Yeah, you’re just catching a few hours here and there, and then on the plane. You’re racing so much and using up a ton of energy, and you don’t really get to eat. I was starving. Starving! [laughs]
Beth: Mona, at one point, ate 5 cheesecakes on an airplane just because we were able to get some food.

Mona and Beth Hop Through A Task
Mona and Beth Hop Through A Task

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race once you found out you had been picked?
Mona: We did. We actually studied geography. In Colorado, there’s Red Rock, and we’re training at altitude anyway, so we would put our backpacks on and we would hike at Red Rock to get a feel for the weight. We also did a whole lot of cross training because we knew as a female team, we weren’t going to be as physically strong as some of the men that are on the show, so we did a lot of weight lifting, a lot of cross training, a lot of running. Just to get ready.
The Yak: I’m sure studying the geography came in handy when it came to that last task before the finish line.
Beth: It did! It was so frustrating because we knew exactly what we were looking for. We knew the order of the countries. The issue was just finding them in that huge ball pit. The geography definitely helped though. We were prepared.

The Yak: Was there a certain point when you were working on that task that you knew the race was over?
Mona: Yeah, we knew we weren’t going to be in the lead when we got to Nationals Field because Bates and Anthony had been there, and Max and Katie were just wrapping up, but at that point, it was really disappointing, of course, but we knew we had to finish strong. Our family and friends would have been really disappointed if hadn’t ran just as hard as we did if we were in the front of the pack. Yeah, we knew. We knew that we weren’t going to win.

The Yak: Have you kept in touch with any of the other teams since the race has ended?
Mona: We actually had a bunch of beers with Max and Katie this weekend, since we were all in New York. We talk with everybody, though. Nobody really understands what it was like, unless they were the people on the show with you.

The Yak: So, what’s next for the two of you?
Beth: Mona and I are headed to Austin, Texas, on Friday. We’re competing with our team in a roller derby bout. We’re in the heart of our season right now with Regionals and Nationals coming up. Then, maybe another reality show. We’d love to do something else. Phil Keoghan has a new show coming up, so maybe we’ll put in an application for that.
The Yak: It’s worth a try! You already have the inside track with Phil!
Beth: You never know!

The Yak: Thanks for your time, and we wish you the best of luck with your upcoming bout!
Mona: Absolutely!
Beth and Mona: Thanks for having us!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Caroline and Jen

Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle
Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle

As the 11th leg of The Amazing Race completed on Sunday evening, the remaining 4 teams had worked their way through Belfast, Northern Ireland, by locating a giant ring, swimming in a muddy bog, and serving up trays of food for diners on the dry dock where the Titanic was built. After all was said and done, the country singers, Caroline Cutbirth (@TXSweetCaroline) and Jennifer Kuhle (@jenwayne), were the last to the Pit Stop and missed out on the chance to race for the million dollar prize. The Yak sat down with the girls to discuss their favorite locations on the race, their upcoming songs, and the flirtatious moments with Anthony and Bates.


The Yak: Thanks for chatting with us today, ladies! How are you both doing?
Caroline: Awesome!
Jen: Good.

The Yak: It was a pleasure watching the two of you race, so it made it even more heartbreaking to see you get so close to the end, but miss it by just a short distance.
Jen: I know, we were so close!

The Yak: You mentioned you’d be writing songs about your time on the race. When do you think we’ll be able to hear those songs?
Jen: Caroline, why don’t you tell them your latest song?
Caroline: We’re going to release a song called “Hockey Player Heartbreak”, and it’s about our romance with the hockey players and how heartbroken we are that we’re not together any more.
The Yak: Sounds like a hit song to me.
Jen: It’s going to be huge! Heard all around the world!

The Yak: The viewers were glad to see that you didn’t give up in the bog snorkel challenge. If you had been able to chose the other teammate to complete the Road Block, do you think you would have made it to the Final 3?
Jen: We couldn’t switch because Caroline had already done 6 Road Blocks and I had done 5, so I had to do that Road Block. If Caroline had done it, we absolutely would have been in the Final 3. She loves getting down and dirty, and she’s a swimmer and I’m not, but you can’t really look back because we didn’t really have a choice.
Caroline: And I think that’s the thing with the Amazing Race that’s so cool and frustrating: circumstances happen and there were certain Road Blocks that Jen would have been better at than me, but I was in them and you just have to roll with it. She did the best she could, and I think that’s why we had such a great experience. It killed me because I knew that I would have been fine, but that was Jen’s 3 worst things: being cold, claustrophobic, and swimming.
The Yak: So, Jen, that’s why you were ready to get out of the suit so badly at the end of the task? It was your claustrophobia?
Jen: Yeah, and I would have been fine if I had finished it the first time. Then I got out and jumped into the second bog, which was even worse cause it was 5 times more muddy. If I had just touched the end and gone back, I would have been fine. I had over a minute left when I was watching it. So, getting back in the second time was the killer because you’re frozen. It was so cold. My hands and feet were completely numb. I couldn’t feel them. When I got back in the second time, I started cramping from being cold, and then the worst part was I just couldn’t breath. I was claustrophobic, my wetsuit was choking me, and so I had to get out and change wetsuits. I literally changed wetsuits 6 times, and each one took a half-hour because your body is swollen. You should have seen Caroline and I trying to get me into the second wetsuit.

Caroline and Jen Discover Haggis
Caroline and Jen Discover Haggis

Caroline: It was a task all by itself!
Jen: So that was the struggle. If I had made it the first time, it would have still been awful and horrible, but I wouldn’t have had to get back in. The getting back in was the tough part.
The Yak: The important part was seeing that you didn’t give up.
Jen: We had made a promise to each other that we’d never give up, and if I had been by myself, there would have been no way I would have gotten back in that water, but I promised Caroline, so I really did it for her. I knew we made a promise that we’d never give up, and she’s the only person in the world I would have gone back in there for.
Caroline: I’m so proud of her because I knew how much Jen was struggling, and Jen’s not a quitter and not a complainer, so I knew she was really struggling. I’m so proud of her, and we just wanted to finish the race with our heads held high and know that we tried the best we could at everything. I think we did that.
Jen: Caroline was so supportive. She was a great friend the whole time. While I was doing that, it must have been frustrating for her to watch, but she was nothing but supportive and just a great friend.
Caroline: Well, you’re a great friend, too!

The Yak: Going back to the hockey players, Anthony and Bates: You seemed to get close during the race, and you touched on it a bit with the “Hockey Player Heartbreak” song, but have you kept in touch with them and with any of the other teams since the race ended?
Jen: We keep in touch with the hockey players, of course. We went and saw Anthony play a game. We became really close with Max and Katie and Chuck and Wynona. I text Wynona all the time.
Caroline: I know, me, too!
Jen: I know everything about her! [Caroline and Jen laugh] So, we really came out of the race with some good friends.

The Yak: What was your favorite location on the race?
Caroline: I love them all. It was so cool because you think, “When am I ever going to go to Africa?”, but it’s a place that Jen and I both wanted to go, so that was so cool to see. The same with Vietnam. It’s such a cool country, but I don’t know that I would have ever gone in my lifetime. Personally, I loved Scotland because I found my husband, Jim, there, and that was true love. [laughs]
Jen: Switzerland took my breath away. It was so beautiful, and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. Obviously, it’s so expensive to travel there, so we feel so fortunate that we got to do it.

The Yak: Would you ever consider doing The Amazing Race again or another reality type show in the future?
Jen: Definitely, I’m waiting on All-Stars.
Caroline: I’d love to do The Amazing Race again.
Jen: We’re waiting for All-Stars to call us.
Caroline: Yeah, hello?!?

The Yak: What was the toughest challenge that you faced, and was there anything you weren’t expecting before going into the race that surprised you?
Jen: Everything surprised us. Every single challenge is so random and I don’t know how they even come up with this stuff.
Caroline: I think we had a lot of challenging moments. Jen, of course, struggled with the bog and the sand castles during the first challenge. I struggled with the bagpipe. I mean, you try to prepare for the race, but I would have never practiced blowing a bagpipe. I think it’s all kind of surprising. You just have to get in there and go for it the best you can because it’s crazy!

Caroline and Jen Become Graffiti Artists
Caroline and Jen Become Graffiti Artists

The Yak: Speaking of trying to prepare, did you do anything special to get yourselves ready for the race once you found out you had been chosen?
Jen: We obviously trained. We both tried to get in as best shape as we could. We went through a little camp at Caroline’s dad’s rance, and he taught us how to knot tie and balance and every kind of weird, random thing we thought might help for the race.
Caroline: Yeah, we tried to get into physically good shape. I wasn’t really a great runner before Amazing Race, and now because of Amazing Race, I ended up running a half-marathon because I was running so much and I just pushed it that far. It definitely pushed us to get physically fit.
Jen: Maybe I need to try out for the race again to get back into shape. [Caroline and Jen laugh]

The Yak: What’s next for the both of you?
Jen: We’re just working on music and we’re still best friends, so you never know what might be next.
Caroline: We’re just taking everything as it comes along.
Jen: We definitely feel like we have something special together with music and we like working together, so we are open to opportunities and excited to see where the road will lead.

The Yak: Thanks for chatting with us, and we hope to see you back on our television screens soon!
Caroline: Awe… Thank you!
Jen: Thank you!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Joey and Meghan

Joey Graceffa & Meghan Camarena
Joey Graceffa & Meghan Camarena

Airport mishaps and Double U-Turns faced the teams in the latest leg of The Amazing Race this week, as they continued their trek around the globe with a stop in Scotland. When the first 3 teams, consisting of Max & Katie, Bates & Anthony, and Caroline & Jennifer, grabbed an earlier flight to Scotland, it left Mona & Beth and Joey Graceffa (@JoeyGraceffa) & Meghan Camarena (@Strawburry17) to battle it out at the back of the pack. The Double U-Turn, which had the teams make (and then eat) haggis and roll barrels of Whiskey up-hill to a party, slowed down the YouTube hosts and ultimately led to their elimination this week. The Yak sat down with the peppy dynamic duo to discuss their race around the world.


The Yak: It was a great leg of the race, but it was tough to see you battle it out with Mona and Beth for last place.
Meghan: Right? That was sad.
Joey: Yeah.

The Yak: So, I have to know, which was tougher: the barrels of Whiskey or the haggis?
Joey: The barrels.
Meghan: Barrels.
Joey: They were like 10 times harder.
Meghan: That haggis was delicious! Haggis has a bad rap! We hadn’t eaten all day, so maybe it did taste just like chocolate cake for some reason, but that thing was amazing. The barrels were a complete hell.

The Yak: Obviously, both you and the Moms had to do both Detours thanks to the Double U-Turn. How far behind were you once you made it to the Pit Stop?
Joey: We don’t really know, but we want to say it was maybe a half-hour or so.
Meghan: We really had no clue. As we were racing to the mat, we were thinking, “Maybe… Maybe!”, but we had no idea.

The Yak: If you had made it onto the earlier flight with the other 3 teams, who would you have U-Turned or would you have used it at all?
Meghan: It would have been the hockey players.
The Yak: Did you perceive them as the biggest threats?
Meghan: They’re professional athletes. They’re everyone’s biggest threats.
Joey: Yeah, people are stupid for not seeing that.

The Yak: Joey, before you left for the race, you mentioned you had a fear of flying. Were you able to overcome that fear and were there any flights in particular that were terrifying for you?
Joey: I got over that fear real quick! Also, being with all the teams helped. It wasn’t a problem.

Joey and Meghan find their next clue
Joey and Meghan find their next clue

The Yak: What was your favorite location along the race?
Joey: Berlin, Germany, for sure. Well, I guess that was the most fun.
Meghan: I liked Bora Bora.
Joey: Yeah, Bora Bora. New Zealand.
Meghan: New Zealand.
Joey: Those were both great!

The Yak: What was your favorite challenge?
Meghan: It wasn’t a challenge, but when we got to jump off the building [The Park Inn in Berlin, Germany], that was sick.
Joey: Yeah, that was fun. My favorite Road Block was the labyrinth one inside the Salon.

The Yak: Even after being prepared for the race, did anything surprise you during your journey?
Meghan: This sounds foolish, but I really wasn’t expecting the amount of hate that we got from all the other teams. I felt like I was back in high school and being picked on. It felt like we were being picked on, and it was the worst.
Joey: Also, I thought we’d have a lot more money for food and stuff. I was hungry the entire race! I should have packed some Clif bars! The way they give us the money, they don’t tell us what’s ahead. We could have used the money for a cab or for a cheeseburger. It was our choice.
The Yak: That’s good advice for anyone that’s planning on applying for future seasons of the race. Make sure you come prepared!
Joey: Definitely bring Clif bars!

The Yak: Speaking of being prepared, did you do anything special to prepare yourself for the race once you found out you had been selected as one of the teams?
Joey: I was working with a personal trainer five days a week. So, I was prepared that way. We also watched a ton of previous seasons.
The Yak: Did you find that it helped you out on the race by studying the previous seasons?
Joey: Yeah, it gave us an idea of what to expect for our season.
Meghan: For sure!
Joey: There’s no way to know what we’re going to encounter, but it’s good to know what people do in different situations.

The Yak: Were you able to get close with any of the other teams beyond Mona & Beth, and have you kept in touch since the race ended?
Meghan: John and Jessica. We’re really close with them, and they actually live pretty close to us, so we still talk with them.
Joey: Yeah, we’ve hung out with them a few times.

Joey and Meghan race ATVs
Joey and Meghan race ATVs

The Yak: Was there ever a time when you weren’t entirely sure of yourselves or you second-guessed what you were doing on the race?
Joey: We were second-guessing ourselves all the time, and I think that’s what really screwed us up.
Meghan: At the beginning of the race, we did that a lot! Then we realized that we needed to make a decision and commit to it. In New Zealand, we did that the whole time, and we could have finished way sooner then we had, so after that, we stopped second-guessing ourselves.
Joey: Also, for a lot of the race we were busy worrying about what the other teams were up to, so in Berlin when we didn’t see any of the other teams, we focused on what we had to do and we came in second place. I think that was the key to it.
The Yak: Is that good advice for future teams: Make a gut decision and stick with it?
Joey: Yeah.
Meghan: Definitely.

The Yak: What’s next for the two of you?
Meghan: Geez, who knows what’s next? We’re definitely pursuing more acting and continuing our YouTube channel. Also, seeing what opportunities open up after this. We’re really creative people, so anything that has to do with that, I’m sure you’ll see us being a part of that.

The Yak: We appreciate you sitting down with us, and we wish you the best of luck to you in the future!
Joey and Meghan: Thank you!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Chuck and Wynona

Chuck and Wynona McCall
Chuck and Wynona McCall

After making their way to Switzerland, the Amazing Race teams had the difficult task of trudging through snow to collect rescue dogs, traverse the side of a cliff, and a facing a Switchback that brought up one of the most memorable tasks in Amazing Race history – the downhill cheese sled. Many of the teams struggled to transport the 50-pound wheels of cheese down the snow covered hill using the provided sled, so the husband and wife team of Chuck and Wynona McCall decided to roll the cheese down the hill and chase after it. While it worked to get the task done quicker, the pair learned at the Pit Stop that they incorrectly transported the cheese, so they incurred a 30-minute penalty. During that time, the other teams checked in and ended Chuck and Wynona’s dreams of the million dollar prize. The Yak sat down with the eliminated team to discuss their time on the race.


The Yak: It was a difficult elimination to watch, and I’m sure it must have been hard to get taken out of the game based on missing a step in the clue instructions. Since you had a 30-minute penalty before checking in, how close was Joey and Meghan to you after you made it to the Pit Stop?
Wynona: We were there, we checked in, and Phil told us we were fifth. We were all excited and happy. Then, Phil came back to us and said that we had a penalty we received, and we would have to wait out the 30 minutes. We were probably 15 to 20 minutes into the penalty, and then here comes Meghan and Joey. We didn’t know it was Meghan and Joey. It could have been anybody, since we didn’t know who was behind us. We knew that we were last off the hill, but we had no clue who it was.

The Yak: It had to be tough to know that you were only 10 minutes from making it through to the next leg.
Chuck: It was definitely difficult. Our smiles turned to frowns really quickly.

The Yak: Chuck, our members have been following you both all season, and now that you’ve had a chance to watch yourself on the show, they wanted to know if you feel bad for the ways that you treated Wynona during your time on the race?
Chuck: Yeah, when I look back and I see Wynona tearing up because she doesn’t think she can keep up with me, it definitely tugged on my heart strings to see her like that. In our normal, everyday life, we’re not under that much stress and we don’t act like that to each other, so it hurt to see me act like that toward her.

The Yak: You see it happen time and time again with teams on the race, where they snap at each other after being under that kind of stress day after day. It was good to see you mention during the exit interview that no matter what, you are both still a couple and it was nice to see the love you have for each other.
Chuck: We’re still together. We were never really pitted against each other in a competition like that. She’s the greatest mom, the greatest housewife, the greatest wife that anybody could ask for, so when she’s put in a spot where she feels like she has to keep up with me, since I like to get out and run like a gazelle and I was expecting her to do the same, so I think that’s where some of the bickering came into play. If I could take it back, I would.

Chuck and Wynona read the next clue
Chuck and Wynona read the next clue

The Yak: Obviously, you are really close with each other and you’ve been together a long time, but was there anything on the race that taught you something new about each other?
Chuck: When we got on the race, I told her that I would motivate her with kisses and hugs, but then it turned into “Faster. Come on! Come on!” Wynona is a trooper. We hung in there for eight legs in the race, even through being jet lagged and tired from no sleep. It really wasn’t that great, but I’m very proud of her. She made me proud of her through the whole race, and I wanted to get that out there.

The Yak: Wynona, are you proud of yourself for accomplishing things that you might not have had the opportunity to do without the race, like scaling the rock wall?
Wynona: I’m definitely proud of myself for finishing eight legs of the race. I never thought we’d even get chosen to go on the race, but to get that far even with me being injured at the beginning, it was amazing. Chuck really thought we were going to be out. It started with him being ticked off at me when I pulled a muscle before we even left, which hindered me the entire way, so I’m very proud of myself for making it through eight legs of the race with an injured leg.

The Yak: We hadn’t seen any of that backstory, so it’s impressive to see what you were able to accomplish with an injury.
Wynona: It was hard to run for the first couple of legs during the race. I really couldn’t run, so having a couple of long flights really helped us out, but it was making Chuck mad that I was injured. It was just like the father and son [David and Connor], when he got injured. I mean, nobody wants to get injured as you end up with limitations on what you can do and how far you can go.

The Yak: What was your biggest challenge during the race?
Chuck: As far as the Road Blocks or physical challenges we did, my biggest challenge was Vietnam. When we were over there, we had a bad day because we couldn’t communicate with anybody. Everything was “No problem! No problem!”, but we’d end up on the other side of town. We couldn’t get a taxi that would get us to the right place. That definitely sticks out in my mind as one of the toughest parts.
Wynona: My biggest challenge was the communication in places we went where they didn’t speak English. It was very hard. You couldn’t get from point A to point B with anyone who spoke English.

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race once you found out you had been selected?
Wynona: We both did different things. We still had to handle our home life, as we have kids and had a house to take care of. I went to the gym and trained on my own at home. Plus, I tried to gather the items that I thought we’d need for the race, but you don’t get a lot of instructions for that. You plan on going from extreme hot to extreme cold, so you pack what you want to carry in your backpack and you try to be prepared for every scenario. As far as working out and things like that, we did.
Chuck: I went out and bought a world map, so I could study it. I was trying to do my homework in learning the dangerous cities and countries. I tried to spend more time looking at the map then in physically working out, as I thought I was in pretty good shape at the time. I got more into the studying the map type of working out.

The Yak: Probably a smart move! Did you get a chance to get close with any of the other teams, and have you been able to keep in touch since the race ended?
Wynona: Yeah, we keep in touch with pretty much all of them. We were pretty close with Max and Katie and the country singers [Caroline and Jen] and the hockey team [Anthony and Bates]. That was our group.
Chuck: Wynona is online with them all the time. Actually, Anthony has come down here and played hockey in our area, so we ran over and got to watch him play hockey, too. Those three other teams are probably our closest.

Chuck helps Wynona up the snow covered hill
Chuck helps Wynona up the snow covered hill

The Yak: So, what’s next for the two of you?
Chuck: We want to come back for [Amazing Race] Unfinished Business, so we can straighten this out. [laughs]
Wynona: I’m going to ship him off to Survivor, so we can see how he does by himself.
The Yak: That would definitely be entertaining to watch. I’m sure a lot of people would tune in to see that. [Chuck and Wynona laugh]

The Yak: Thanks so much for your time! We wish both of you the best of luck!
Wynona: Thanks!
Chuck: Thank you!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Pam and Winnie

Pamela Chien and Winnie Sung
Pamela Chien and Winnie Sung

Fighting their way through a non-elimination leg last week, the Amazing Race headed back into Botswana and gave the teams a chance to brave crocodiles, goats, horses and donkeys. When faced with a pack of stubborn donkeys at the Detour, Pamela Chien and Winnie Sung attempted to complete the other Detour (a memory challenge on horseback), which caused them to fall further behind the pack and ultimately the last to reach the Pit Stop. The Yak recently had a chance to meet with the best friends from Southern California and discuss their time on the race.


The Yak: That was a rough elimination to watch. It must be difficult to get that many legs into the race and have a Detour take you out like it did.
Pam: I know, right?
Winnie: Word!

The Yak: With that Detour, at first you had difficulty with the donkeys, so you decided to switch tasks and then ultimately ended up going back. How long did you spend with the horses before going back to the donkeys?
Pam: Toward the end of the horse detour, we realized so much time was passing that we knew we must be in a bad place at that point. Especially after getting it wrong.
Winnie: We started to realize this might be it, so even though we didn’t know how long the donkeys were taking at that point, it just felt really long being on the horses.

The Yak: Did you attempt the memory (horse) task just the two times or were there additional times that we didn’t get to see?
Winnie: Yeah, we did it twice. It was more like getting Triple U-Turned! (laughs) We did 3 detours with the donkey one twice and the horse one once, so in total it was probably close to two and a half hours.

The Yak: Once you got back to the donkeys the second time, it seemed to work out much better for you. Was it really as quick as it looked?
Pam: No, when we went back, it took us another 30 minutes or so to get them moving again. 
Winnie: And then, they would stop along the course, as well, so we would have to get them moving again every time they stopped.
Pam: To be honest with you, I think the donkeys took us just as long the second time around as the horses.
Winnie: But, I think for teams where the donkeys moved, it went much faster.

Winnie & Pam Give a Goat a Boat Tour
Winnie & Pam Give a Goat a Boat Tour

The Yak: That had to be frustrating to know at that point, it’s really up to the feelings of the animal to decide if they’re going to help you out or not.
PamIt seriously was.

The Yak: When you found out you had been cast this season, did you do anything special to prepare for the race?
Winnie: Yeah, we spent a lot of time preparing for the race. On top of working out, we did situations that we thought we’d encounter, like ice skating and kayaking. We even did tasks where we knew we’d have to work together, so we tried to prepare as much as we could.

The Yak: What was your favorite part of the race?
PamThe whole race aspect, like doing the challenges, running from country to country. It was a lot of fun. In particular, going to Africa because of working with the bushmen and being with goats, but then we ran into donkey and … then it wasn’t fun anymore. (laughs) They’re such assholes.

The Yak: Did you get close with any of the other teams? Have you kept in touch since the race ended?
Pam: We’re definitely friends with everyone. It’s definitely an experience that bonds you, regardless of the stuff that happens on the race. We’ve kept in touch with everyone.

The Yak: What was the toughest challenge for you? Obviously, the donkey challenge wasn’t a favorite of yours, but beyond that, what really challenged you?
Pam: For me, it was the stilts. It was awful and it was just a bad day. We had trouble in the water, so I don’t know why I thought I could do stilts after taking Dramamine. We also realized it was tough to do when you’re shorter because there’s so much more of the stick going over your head, so it was probably a bad idea to have the shortest person in the race do that. (laughs)

The Yak: What surprised you the most about the race?
PamThe most interesting part was getting so immersed in the local culture. It’s something that’s really priceless. You would never be able to hang out with bushmen and drive them around in your car, so that was the most fun part of the race.

Pamela & Winnie Look for Animals in Botswana
Pamela & Winnie Look for Animals in Botswana

The Yak: What’s next for the both of you?
Winnie: Survivor!
Pam: Judge Judy!
Winnie: Yeah, we’re going to small claims court.
Pam: We’re going to hit all the reality shows. (Pam and Winnie laughs)
We’re actually just back to our normal lives, and we’re enjoying watching the show every Sunday.

The Yak: You definitely had fans pulling for you, so if given the chance, would you race again?
Winnie: Absolutely. In a heartbeat!

The Yak: Thanks for your time! It’s been a pleasure speaking with you!
Pam: Thank you!
Winnie: Thanks so much!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with David and Connor

David and Connor O'Leary
David and Connor O’Leary

After last week’s history-making elimination of John and Jessica, who were holding the Express Pass when reaching the Pit Stop, the latest episode of The Amazing Race brought the teams to Vietnam for chess playing, communist partying, and bamboo dancing. With the team of David and Connor O’Leary (@Coleary00) making their way through the last few legs with an injured Achilles tendon, they were required to leave the game due to a doctor’s request as soon as they landed in Vietnam. The father/son duo took time today to sit down with the Yak and reflect on their amazing trip around the world and their emotional elimination.


The Yak: Thanks for chatting with us! It was a really emotional and tough elimination to watch last night.
Connor: Thanks for having us.
David: It was really tough for us, too.

The Yak: Our members wanted to pass along their condolences in regards to being eliminated for something that was out of your control, but that they were impressed for you pushing along this far into the race with your injury. With that being said, how is your leg doing now?
David: It’s in process. I came home and immediately had surgery. They pulled the Achilles back together and they couldn’t do much with the calf muscle, but hopefully, it’ll heal over time. I am back on a bike, though, and I should be running again in the next 60 days, so I don’t see any reason why I can’t make a complete recovery.

The Yak: So, does it go without saying that if the show asked you to come back, you’d do it all over again?
Connor: In a heartbeat.
 We’d be there next season, if we could.

The Yak: Looking back at the race, what was your favorite location that you visited?
Connor: I would say Indonesia. Bali is a pretty spectacular place, and it’s such an amazing culture.
David: Every place we went was so incredible. Vietnam was great, but I’ll have to agree with Connor, Indonesia was spectacular. Definitely, we’ll go back.

The Yak: What was your best memory from the race?
David: It was having the chance to go see these incredible places, and I got to do a few incredible things. I also got to watch Connor do some incredible things, and to be able to do that with your son, who’s also your best friend, makes all of it full of good memories. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and despite my injury, I don’t have any regrets about doing this race at all. Like I said, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Connor: It was fun, especially getting to do that racing element with your dad. We’ve done things together, but nothing that involves a competition element. It was fun to work with my dad as a team and see all the stuff we could do. It was a pretty amazing experience.
David: Connor was really glad that he got to jump out of the helicopter instead of building sandcastles.
The Yak: Seems like that was a decent trade off.
David and Connor: (laughs)

Connor and David Boat in Bora Bora
Connor and David Boat in Bora Bora

The Yak: When you learned that you had been cast for this season, did you do anything special to prepare for the race?
David: We did a lot to prepare. We spent a lot of time running, cycling, we went hiking with backpacks, we swam, and we really tried to be physically in a position that kept us fit. Personally, I wanted to make sure I could keep up with Connor. We also watched hours and hours and hours of The Amazing Race while making spreadsheets and analyzing challenges. We even decided who would be the best one to do each challenge. We were just trying to prepare to be in the heat of the moment, but then you get put into that moment and you forget everything you studied. It’s like everything just goes out the window and you’re left on your own.

The Yak: It appeared like you managed to handle most of the challenges without any problems, including your unexpected injury. You mentioned during the show that your doctor said you needed surgery within the next 7 days, but if he hadn’t made that suggestion, would you have been able to continue on?
David: I think we could have. Who knows how long we would have been able to do it, considering that Connor only had so many challenges he was allowed to do according to the rules, so at some point, I was going to have to do things and would have loved to been able to do more. We probably would have completed the leg in Vietnam, and then ultimately, we would have been eliminated, but that goes with the territory. Once we got the word that there was a window within which I had to have the surgery, I just made the decision that it was time to go out.

The Yak: Did you get a chance to get close with any of the other teams, and have you kept in touch since the race ended?
Connor: Everybody was great on the show. They were all super cool with us. We spent a few flights next to the Derby Moms [Mona and Beth] and the Country Girls [Caroline and Jen]. Whenever we had a down time at the airport, we got along with everybody.

The Yak: What was the toughest part of the race that you weren’t expecting?
David: Everything happened so fast. It was really intense. When you’re watching it on television, it’s really easy to armchair quarterback and say, “Oh, how could they make that stupid decision?”, but when you’re there, it’s all moving so fast, so when you get up and get a clue that says “boat” and “bag”, you just automatically just skip the rest of it and  head to your boat. You make stupid mistakes.

The Yak: Speaking of just getting up and going, during the non-elimination leg, how long were you racing without a break?
Connor: We were racing for over 4 days. They said that it was the longest leg in race history. It was definitely a long race and I’m sure by that point I just smelled terrible.
David: (laughs) I can confirm that he really did.
Connor: You’re so out of your element, and you’re not on a regular sleep schedule and not able to eat at a regular time, so it kind of messes with you a little bit, but it was still a blast.

Connor and David Race to the Pit Stop
Connor and David Race to the Pit Stop

The Yak: Watching you was very inspirational, since you both not only overcame cancer in your lives, but also had the additional challenge of the injury, so being able to come in first at all was quite impressive.
David: Thank you!

The Yak: What’s next for the both of you?
Connor: I take off in about a week for Europe for a few months for racing. School and racing is pretty much what I have going on.
David: I’m back to work, and whenever we can follow Connor racing, we do so. If there are races in Europe that we think would be really great to see, we try to do that. He’s got some big races in the US this summer, so we’ll be tagging along on those as well.

The Yak: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, and we wish the both of you the best! Connor, good luck with your upcoming races, and let us know how it turns out! We hope to see you back on The Amazing Race in the future!
David: We hope so, too! That’d be great!
Connor: Thanks so much!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Idries and Jamil

Idries Abdur-Rahman & Jamil Abdur-Rahman
Idries Abdur-Rahman and Jamil Abdur-Rahman

Season 22 of The Amazing Race kicked off last week with an Amazing Race first, travel to Bora Bora, and saw the demise of one of three teams that opted to take the penalty on a Road Block over completing the task. The Firefighters, Matt & Daniel, were the last in a foot race to the Pit Stop at the end of the first leg. The second leg continued in the beautiful locale of Bora Bora, where the remaining 11 teams battled it out in the topical heat and crystal blue waters. Their fear of water ultimately landed twin brothers, Jamil Abdur-Rahman and Idries Abdur-Rahman, at the back of the pack and eliminated at the Pit Stop. The Yak took time to sit down with the OB/GYN Physicians to discuss their stint on the race.


The Yak: When you applied to be on The Amazing Race, did you think your fear of water might have been a challenge somewhere along the race? Did you have any discussions on how to deal with it when it did come up?
Idries: I think we both knew. There were two things coming into the race that we were hoping to minimize: Water and Pork, because we can’t eat pork. We knew that the water was definitely going to come into play. Both of us can swim, but we’re just not super comfortable in the water and we’re not super comfortable with open water. So, our hope was that if we did have to be in water, it would be more like a contained setting, like a pool. We did prepare, though. We did swimming classes and training in the pool. (laughs) We did know that it was going to be an Achilles Heel if it came up. Definitely.

The Yak: You definitely gained some respect from some of our members for not giving up on the task, unlike some of the teams in the previous leg. What made you decide to stick with the Detour rather than take the penalty for not completing it?
Jamil: I think it was a couple of things. For one, just being on the race. It was something that we had wanted to do for so long, and you can’t get on the race and then just give up. You just can’t do that. It was more about having respect for the entire process. You know, it was tough getting on the race and then once you get there, you can’t give up because it gets tough. The second reason was because we knew our friends would see it, our family would see it, along with our children, and our patients, so we didn’t want to be portrayed like that. Then, third, like we said on the race and not to be corny, but it really was true – we had a lot of people early on in our lives who didn’t give up on us. Just out of respect to them, we couldn’t really give up. Even when you know you’re dead, and we knew we were dead, but we couldn’t give up. (laughs) You gotta go full force.
Idries: I agree with that. Also, my wife and I home-school my kids, and we tell them you can’t give up, you gotta keep going. So we couldn’t just go on national TV and give up. That wasn’t going to happen.

Jamil Powers Through the Road Block
Jamil Powers Through the Road Block

The Yak: What is the best memory that you’ll take away from the entire experience?
Idries: The entire experiences itself is just awesome and amazing. I’m going to look at this whole thing and just treasure the memory. It’s so hard to pinpoint one thing that was better than the other. The whole experience was amazing. I know it sounds corny, but it was just amazing! The whole thing was cool.
Jamil: The one experience I’ll take from it more than anything else was the last task we were doing. When people were watching the show last night, they were asking, “Why were you crying? Were you crying because you were done?” Even though we knew we were done, I told them it wasn’t that. When I was on the last task, I pretty much knew we were finished. I was exhausted. My feet had been in the water for so long that once I got on those stilts, I started getting blisters. It was a bad experience, and I just wanted to be done, so I sat down for a minute and closed my eyes. I started talking to my Grandparents, and I said, “Please help me.” Right at that moment, it was the strangest thing – there was this cloud cover, so it wasn’t so hot anymore and there was this breeze, so I knew I was going to do it. So, I got on the stilts and I did it. That was actually what made me kind of emotional because I kind of felt like that was them saying to me, “We’re still here. We’re still pushing you.” That was the best experience I take from it.

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race after you had learned you’d been cast this season?
Idries: We were both already pretty fit from going to the gym every day and running. I actually had run a 15K just 4 days before we left for the race. So, we stayed physically fit. We stepped it up a bit. We were putting weighted backpacks on our backs to simulate running the race with our actual backpacks. I had started training for my black belt before we left, so I kept doing that, and we started playing mental games as well. We’re use to working and having to be sharp with no sleep, but we started trying to step it up a bit. I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I would play Sudoku, just to see how mentally sharp I could be with very little sleep.
Jamil: I think the swimming lessons and that training made us more proficient, as well.

The Yak: Did you get a chance to get close with any of the other teams, and have you kept in touch with them since the race ended?
Jamil: Yeah, we all keep in touch. We have a little group on Facebook, and we all chit chat with each other. We’re planning on doing a little reunion at the end. I think we actually got close with all the teams.
Idries: Everybody was awesome. I told everyone – not trying to be diplomatic – but everyone was really awesome. I felt pretty close to all of them to be honest with you.

Idries and Jamil At the Road Block
Idries and Jamil At the Road Block

The Yak: What’s next for the two of you?
Jamil: We’re just continuing to do what we were doing before. We’re working, and we’re enjoying that. The only other thing I want to take from this whole experience is it showed me how lucky we are, not only to do what we do on a daily basis, but to have opportunities like that. I do want to give back in some way, and we’re thinking of getting involved in some charitable activities. Other than that, we’re just living our lives and taking it one day at a time.

The Yak: Thanks for your time. We wish you both the best of luck!
Idries: Thank you!
Jamil: Thank you very much!


The Amazing Race 22: And We’re Off! (VIDEO)

Sunday night marks the start of the 22nd race around the world with Emmy award winning show, The Amazing Race. While the $2 million prize is no longer a factor, we do know that THREE teams put their fate on the line when they encounter a challenge they don’t feel fit to accomplish. Remember, the team winning the first leg will win two expresses passes, one of which they can pass on to another team.

Meet The Teams Here

As always here at YY, we have clips to whet your appetite before Sunday night’s premiere. Be sure to also submit your questions for the eliminated teams, as we’ll be interviewing them each week! See you at the finish line!