Eco-Challenge (Part 2): The Leaders of the Pack
Whether you are a leader or a follower, everyone has their problems in Eco-Challenge. We’re 24 hours into the race and following both teams that have hit CP3, and those that are still fighting their way on their man-made bamboo rafts!
The leaders of the pack are all having problems on the bike leg, making us wonder if any of them have a chance at winning this race.
Team GoLite reminds us that the navigation in situations like The Lost World separates out the competitive teams from all the others. They arrive at the bike transition in second place. Team GoLite comments that they are in better shape than the team ahead of them because they did get some sleep. At the end of Part 2, the GoLiters are lost on the bike trail after missing a turn and have no idea where they need to go next.
The Kiwis team is hot on the heels of Team GoLite. Kristina, one of the strongest women in adventure racing, has come down with flu-like symptoms losing fluids and cannot go on. They rest hoping that Kristina will be able to recover and they’ll have the possibility of catching up with Team GoLite.
Team Earthlink has had their confidence shattered early on. Following Team Aussie was a huge mistake and put them in the ominous position of jumping off the dangerous waterfall. Robyn makes the leap from the waterfall to keep them in the competition and the team heads off in the wrong direction….again. They have slipped from 1st place to 8th as they reach the bike transition and learn that Mike is missing part of his bike. Without the specialized part, the bike is unusable. 2 hours later they receive permission to use a part from a team that has withdrawn from the race and are on their way again in the dark. Jason’s navigational ability is tested again as they get lost. Isaac nears a breakdown when he chooses to ignore Jason and go in the direction the natives have been directing them.
A dark horse rookie team was actually the first team to emerge from The Lost World. Team Mazda from South Africa have navigated flawlessly and are serious contenders at this point. They are the first to the bike transition stage and the first ones out. However, unlike Team GoLite, they did not receive any rest up to this point.
Still on the bamboo raft, Team Smirnoff Ice had a difficult night. They claim to be true adventure racers. Gabe from Survivor is one of the volunteers and lets them know they are in 65th place.
Ethan Zohn, from Team Mad River reminds us he knows “jack” about navigation. Tim Beggy, the navigator doesn’t exude much more confidence. Team Mad River has had no sleep and it’s starting to show as they snap at each other. Tim takes the maps to some locals to have them help him out. The locals confirm that they will be going to the worst place at the worst time – nightfall. Tim asks a local man to guide them to the entrance and I wonder to myself if this is legal but guess it is since we don’t hear of any penalties for them. They are 17 hours behind the lead teams, in The Lost World, and Jenna is nursing a sore ankle as we end Part 2.
Team AXN Brazil is one of only two teams with a female navigator. Nora was confident until hitting the Fijian jungle. Hours after leaving CP3 they have made little progress. After 6 hours, they realize that they completed a circle and are back at CP3. Trying not to focus on that or get depressed, they get moving once again after Nora studies the map hoping to reach the mountain bikes before dark.
Team Kodak is in last place, a day and a half behind lead teams. There is still no mention of the 4th team member! And I never realized that Hayden had orange hair until this point.
Last year Team Go came in dead last and proved to be quite the comedic team in New Zealand. Now they are hoping to finish in the middle of the pack. They have added team member Anthony Sullivan “Sully,” a versatile athlete to strengthen their team. Seven weeks prior to the race Sully was in an accident during training and the ball of his foot was torn open requiring over 70 stitches. They decide to keep the team intact and race as is hoping to accomplish their goals together.
Team Lupus is having serious issues with interpersonal realationships and team unity. The team focuses on Diane as the weakest link and makes her feel like “mandatory equipment.” The men on the team don’t seem to realize that without all 4 members, their race is over. Whether it’s right or wrong that Diane seems to expect that the men carry a portion of her pack, the team has to work together, period. Without team unity and cohesion, you are going nowhere fast. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
We meet Team Fiji as they take a moment to celebrate their 18th place at the bike transition with some of the locals. Mark reminds this rookie team to take it slowly as an injury could knock them out of the race completely. I guess they didn’t take the words to heart as a near fatal accident threatens to knock them out of the race when Tui flips over his handlebars and falls 12 feet onto a cement ledge in a ravine. After a few moments of rest, they realize that the right ankle was terribly injured and would required immediate attention. The Fijians are forced to withdraw from the race.
An injury in The Lost World takes another dangerous turn when one of the competitors is bitten by an unknown creature and her leg goes numb as she begins to have problems breathing. We learn it is Cindy Coppola of Team BDA Extreme. Paramedics are dispatched and a daring and dangerous rescue is performed. It is revealed that Cindy has been bitten by a black eel, and she will fortunately be okay. But as for Team BDA Extreme, their race is over 36 hours into the race
Will the leaders recover? Who will drop out next? Will any teams fail to meet the time requirement of the CPs?
Read the official USAnetworks recap of episode 3 here.
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