August 31, 2011
Sure, we would have liked to win. But we were pretty happy coming in second to our friends, the Gypsies. They certainly deserved to win; after all they were first at nearly every stage and helped us squeak by several times throughout the challenges. However, Team No Limits was determined to make those Gypsy boys work for it! And we did get a lot of pleasure beating them in the sailing stage.
We all knew at the start this was going to be a hard day with a lot of twists and turns. By now, we all knew Mark Burnett and his crew are devious sadists who would have no pity on the four remaining teams.
The day started out with a brutally hard race across the lake in tin buckets that masqueraded as boats. Jeff was the man on this section and he beat himself up hard for an hour fighting a heinous headwind. He did an awesome job but paid the price by royally messing up his back.
While we knew the Footballers are not “water boys,” we were still surprised that they were only half way across the lake as we scrambled to shore. It turned out that they were so heavy that their boat was literally sinking. With shouts of “Mayday! Mayday!” they abandoned ship and jumped out in the middle of the lake. A rescue boat had to bring them a replacement so they could continue.
With Jeff’s back severely strained, a fair amount of the shoveling at the next challenge fell upon me. Jeff and Ike were laughing over my shoveling skills; admittedly, I’ve barely shoveled anything in my life, but I made a fair dent in that pile once I got the hang of it. Of course, the producers only showed me missing the wire sifter. We soon found our geodes and ran to the Arabian stallions.
After the horse ride at full gallop, we said farewell to our friends the Footballers and braced ourselves for the next round of racing. This time we got a short breather as we drove to the outskirts of Marrakech.
And then, my nemesis, camels! This section didn’t get aired, which is a bit surprising because it was a wild and precarious ride. There were nine giant camels that were connected with ropes into groups of three. Each team had a string of camels but they all moved at the same pace and our camels were smashing into each other.
Here we were, riding these huge trotting beasts, with constant risk of entanglement, as we careened through city streets with mopeds and taxis flying by. It was actually quite dangerous and scary. I imagined all the camels and riders going down in a massive rope-entangled heap. To make matters worse, Jeff and John from the Gypsies were in utter agony because of saddle sores from the horse ride. I could especially hear Jeff behind me howling aloud at every camel bounce. At one point, with a camel smacking into me, I reached out to push it away and heard Taylor from the Gypsies, shout, “Hey E! That’s my thigh.”
After my last camel experience, where I had a full-on panic attack, I was determined to suck it up and redeem myself. I squeezed my legs together and got my butt off the camel and rode like a star. That said, it will be a long time before I get on one of those beasts again!
Then we plunged into the pandemonium of the market. By now, everyone’s adrenalin was maxing out and the confusion of racing through the maze of streets caused us to make a mistake. There was one point where if we had gone right instead of left, we could have beaten the other teams. Ah, hindsight is 20/20, even for a blind guy.
It was a brilliant move by the Gypsies to run past one of the checkpoint doors in order to confuse the Fab 3 who were leaching on and following them. Once they had ditched Fab 3 and circled back, they still had a head start on us. In fact, it was those Gypsies who once again helped us by telling us our map was not the right one, and it hit us that we had missed the last check point.
At the end, when we realized the Gypsies had unlocked their box before us, all three of us were shouting them on. It was great fun to watch our friends climb the final ladder and then hear the big round of applause as they crossed the finish line!
I am incredibly proud of Jeff and Ike! We were the underdogs going into the race and surprised a lot of people. Then we squeaked by in the eighth stage of the race. And were nearly eliminated again in the ninth stage. Together, we dealt with adversity that no other team had to face. And we used that adversity as fuel to power us to the finish.
This sprawling adventure took us a month to complete and was certainly no picnic. Here are some highlight clips from the entire show:
The best of the Ikenator!
I had a few moments on the screen as well:
And last but certainly not least, the best Jeffisms of Expedition Impossible!
Thanks for watching and supporting Team No Limits!
PS Be sure to check out Jeff's blog: http://mountain-vision.blogspot.com/