The Virtual Race
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Leg 1
Ice Iceland Baby

Everything We Say Is a Lie
Hello, TARflies! Welcome to the first installment of our virtual team journal. It's a concept that was first used on the Fans of Reality TV website, so we first want to shout out our thanks to the folks there, especially BravoFan, for so graciously giving us permission to use their idea.

So what is it exactly? We'll be recounting the adventures of a virtual team as they run the race. Patrick & Kimberly don't actually exist, they didn't actually go on TAR, and they didn't compete against the other teams in the race. They do have a TARflies forum thread devoted to them and their adventures, but bottom line? It's all fake.

What? Who are those people in the picture? Well, it's us, actually. The pseudostudents. Okay, so we're real. But the rest is pretty much fake. The journal entries developed out of our discussions of what might happen if we were to go on the race ... embellished to make a good story, of course. Hey, don't scoff. It's all for fun. We like playing with TAR stuff. And we're allowed to take poetic license.

Each week we're going to be switching off reporting duties. This week mr pseudostudent is going to be telling the story from Patrick's point of view, and next week will be pseudostudent's and Kimberly's turn. One thing that we do encourage folks to do is to feel free to comment on Patrick & Kimberly on their forum thread. Hell, snark on them if you think their behavior warrants it! Remember, these are characters, not real people. Have fun with them! - ps & mr ps

Okay, time to get started - I like to call this little number "I Only Have Iceland for You." - mr ps


Hello, We Must Be Going
Patrick: We got to the Amazing Race orientation room and found we were the last team to arrive - an ominous start if ever there was one. But we sat in the back and that proved to be the perfect thing to do, because as Kimberly took her usual copious notes on all the administrivia, I was able to scope out the other teams.

The prize for the most noticeable team had to go to Lori & Bolo. They were big. Very big. They were also a little gruff and rough around the edges, but Kimber said she thought they were good people. I generally trust her first impressions, but we'll see on that one. At the very least I figured they'd be tough competition. There was also an older couple, Don & Mary Jean. They looked to be in pretty good shape - certainly better shape than Bob & Joyce from last season. They're my personal favorite to win if we don't. I know statistically that it doesn't look good for them, but if we've learned anything from obsessively watching every single season of this show, it's that anything's possible on The Amazing Race.

"Actually, I guess I should've been more careful about how much attention I was paying to them, because probably then Kimber wouldn't have "accidentally" stomped on my foot."

Then there was this guy-girl team with a horny guy. Uh, that is, a guy with horns in his hair. That was Adam, and his teammate was named Rebecca. I'm always suspicious of someone who is waaay out there when it comes to their appearance. It's like they're saying, "I'm DIFFERENT! Pay attention to ME!" It didn't work on me, though, because I was paying more attention to a Lena & Kristy, the sisters from Utah. Actually, I guess I should've been more careful about how much attention I was paying to them, because probably then Kimber wouldn't have "accidentally" stomped on my foot.

Those were pretty much all the teams that really made a real impression on me during the orientation and subsequent orifice search for contraband travel goods. (Except Jonathan. But I'll let Kimberly deal with him in our next journal entry.) Most of the others were pretty much still a blur of Pretty Pod People. Kimberly & I wondered how much space in their backpacks was devoted to beauty items!

We had a restless last night before the race, but when we arrived at Buckingham Fountain for the start of the first leg, we were totally wired, and we tore off for our first clue as soon as Phil yelled, "Go!" As luck would have it, Kimberly had gone to school in the Chicago area, and she mostly knew where to go. We grabbed our bags and headed into the heart of the city. The race was on!

El and Gone
After a few false leads, we found the Jackson El stop and got on the same train car as Joe & Avi, Gus & his daughter Hera, and Hayden & Aaron (one of the Pretty Pod People or "3P" teams). We started getting chatty, and eventually Gus confided to us that he wanted to create an alliance to knock out the other teams, starting with Jonathan & Victoria.

Kimber kept her expression pretty neutral as she made friendly, noncommittal noises about Gus's plan, but I knew she was wary about this sort of pre-emptive scheming. We knew alliances didn't last long on the race. Plus, we weren't interested in antagonizing anyone, even Jonathan, who was a worthy target for disdain. After all the scheming was done, the teams talked about themselves a little as we approached O'Hare, and thought I overheard Gus saying he used to be in the CIA, or the FBI, or the Illuminati, or something. Maybe that explains his paranoia about the other teams.

Kimber wasn't interested in sharing, though, and she wandered off. When I glanced around, I noticed her sitting with a middle-aged lady who'd been talking on a cell phone earlier. A few minutes later, she made a big show of hugging me and nuzzling my ear, but what she was really doing was whispering about the approaching bad weather on the east coast and suggesting that we try for the Minneapolis flight on United. So sneaky! I love that girl.

Once we hit the airport, we extricated ourselves from the teams we were with and ran to the United counter. We ended up right in back of Jonathan & Victoria. Ugh. "With Jonathan here, are we sure this is the best flight?" I asked Kimberly. She sighed and flashed me a grin. Or maybe it was a grimace.

But I was so excited that I started driving off before Kimberly had gotten into the back seat.

Cold As Ice
Despite our worries, the trip to Iceland was pretty uneventful. Maybe another team had drugged Jonathan. When we arrived in Reykjavik, we hit the ground running and we found the designated trucks quickly. But I was so excited that I started driving off before Kimberly had gotten into the back seat. Whoops! I almost sideswiped the sound guy, too, so he totally missed Kimber yelling at me in English and Chinese. I'm sure Kimberly had second thoughts at that moment about making me the designated driver for the race.

After a couple more false starts, we found Route 1 and began driving. And continued driving. And I kept on driving. Yeah, it was pretty far away. I took in the scenery as we went along, wondering what the landscape must have looked like when the Vikings arrived, imagining how they had to tame the land ...

"PATRICK!"

I jumped in my seat and stomped on the brake. "What, what?"

"You missed our turnoff back there!"

"God, you scared me! I thought we were going to get into an accident or something. Why didn't you say anything about the turnoff before?"

"I did. Like, three times. You were just daydreaming."

"No, I was just thinking ... how this would be a great place to come on our honeymoon."

Kimber laughed. "Nice try, hon. Now turn it around and keep your eyes peeled for ... Sel-ja-lands-foss waterfalls. Spelled just like it sounds."

We got to the falls just as the El Train Allies and Lori & Bolo were coming down. We quickly grabbed the clue telling us to go to Vatnajokull ("Vat?" "Na joke, Kull!") Glacier, then I gunned the engine and tore off after the leading teams - after making sure that this time, everyone was present and accounted for.

I drove, and drove, and drove some more, this time getting into a few passing wars with other teams. Finally we arrived at the shuttle station, and we took one of the shuttles to the glacier clue box and the snowmobiles. Kimberly ran to our snowmobile and took the front seat, but as we hurtled wildly across the glacier, part of me wondered whether she was really the better choice as driver for this sled of death. I'm pretty sure she couldn't hear my screams over the engine noise and her yells of "Look out! Chinese woman behind the wheel!"

But Kimber did fine (my stomach could have used some help, though), and we cruised into camp with a couple of other teams. I was so determined to beat the other teams to the tents that as soon as the snowmobile stopped, it was "Captain Zoom Rushes Into Action Without Thinking" for me. Despite the shouts of "Patrick, WAIT" from Kimberly, I slippy-slid over to the nearest tent and grab its ticket for the 10:30 shuttle. I turned around grinning an idiot's rictus, but Kimberly just gave me a stony look and pointed to a 3P team that had chosen the tent next to ours. They were celebrating their 10:00 departure time. D'oh! I was in the doghouse (or at least the pup tent) for that mistake.

I tried to improve my situation, at least a little. "Well, at least we're in the second shuttle. And isn't this a fantastic place?"

Kimber snorted. "We'd've been in the first shuttle if you'd've slowed down and listened to me. And sure, this place is great. But it's going to be hella cold here tonight." Oy. It was already cold in more ways than one.

On the Rocks, Straight Up
After a good night's sleep and a granola bar, Kimberly was in a much better mood. We rode our shuttle back down to the cars, then drove a fast 20 miles to Glacier Ice Beach, where we had to make a choice between Ice Climb and Ice Search. "There could be a lot of hidden areas on the searching one, and we could be going around in circles for a while looking for the clue," Kimberly reasoned. "At least with the Ice Climb you're going in a straight line to the clue, even if that line goes straight up." I had to agree. We'd seen too many teams from previous season lose valuable time hunting for the needle-in-a-haystack clue.

"It looks high, and dangerous," she said. She turned to me. "You go first."
I drove like a madman to the Ice Climb location and arrived in time to see Kris & Jon getting ready to tackle the Detour. We quickly got on our gear and headed to the start of the ice climb, but as soon as we reached foot of the 35-foot ice wall, Kimberly stared up and looked concerned. "It looks high, and dangerous," she said. She turned to me. "You go first."

"What?"

"You go first. You've done this kind of thing more than I have. Besides, you only want me to go first so you can look at my ass."

"Shouldn't that motivate me more, then?"

Kimberly grinned, but stood firm. "Patrick honey, get your butt up that hill."

Nope, there was no way I was going to win. So I started climbing.

The ice climb actually wasn't too difficult, but it took a little while for me to get the technique down. Despite that, Kimber cheered for me the whole way up Mt. Bettrnotfjall. I was panting by the time I reached the summit, and when I turned around, I could see that Kimberly was already picking her way up the ice wall. She did pretty well on the climb, and laughed as she pulled herself over the top. She flopped dangerously close to the edge as she grinned up at me. "Omigod, we did it! Did you see that?"

No time to enjoy the moment, though -- a couple of 3P teams had arrived during our climb, so we stripped off the gear and retrieved the clue telling us to go to the Blue Lagoon. "I hope I see Brooke Shields there," I joked as we got in the truck. Kimber groaned. "Just drive us to the Pit Stop, you horndog."

That proved easier said than done. We got lost for about half an hour, but we finally got back on track after Kimberly got directions and a free map from a gas station attendant. "He said to stay on the Route 1, even though it looks a little further than taking the side roads on the map," she said, tracing out the two routes. "We should be there in a couple of hours or so."

"Got it. We shouldn't have too much trouble getting there."

She squeezed my shoulder as I started driving again. "You just cursed us, you know. But yeah, hopefully we shouldn't have too much trouble ... as long as you don't miss the turnoff because you're daydreaming again."

I drove, and drove, and drove. Finally we spotted the signs and flags leading to the Blue Lagoon. "Wow, it's incredible. Look at that blue," I said as I pulled into the parking area for the Pit Stop.

"I'll look at it after we see Phil," Kimberly answered as she snapped off her seat belt and threw open the door. "C'mon, hon, he's gotta be that way. I see Jonathan's yellow shirt!"

We ran past Jonathan & Victoria, who had already checked in, and we slid onto the mat behind Lori & Bolo, who were arguing heatedly. We grinned at each other when Phil and an attractive blonde reported we were team number 7. Not a great placement, but not awful. And we weren't the first team eliminated. Whew! (The best part about our time at the Pit Stop? We got to see Phil pop his eyebrow over Lori & Bolo's antics. Hee!)

Next week: continued Jonathan hatred, our first Roadblock, and a fight!

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