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The Amazing Race

By Tiff Wells.

The Amazing Race. A 33,000-mile trek around the world for a $1-millon grand prize starts in Los Angeles at The Hollywood Bowl. One of the eleven teams for Season 32 is comprised of a pair of Punahou School alums, brothers Riley (’07) and Maddison (’09) McKibbin. The professional volleyball players on the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals), more commonly known as “The Beard Brothers,” are also easily spotted throughout this season by the yellow shirts they wear. We’ve gone to Trinidad & Tobago…to Colombia…to Brazil…to Paraguay…to France. Now we’re headed to Germany AND Kazakhstan. Seven teams remain.

Season 32 of The Amazing Race airs each Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. on KGMB. ***SPOILER ALERT – Tonight is another two-hour, two-episode showing.*** We here at ESPN Honolulu will follow their journey throughout the race with a Wednesday recap that looks back at the previous episode and previews what to expect for the upcoming episode.

Episodes 6 & 7 (“I’m Not Even Walking, I’m Falling” AND “Give Me a Beard Bump”) into previews of episodes 8 and 9 – We left off with Riley and Maddison at the Pont des Arts in Paris, France. They’ve been the most consistent team (3rd, 3rd, 4th and 4th) so far. I’m happy they finally broke through and won their first leg (yes, I did shout at my TV when they won the leg), but I’m even more curious as to how they will split the trip for two to Vietnam. Bear with us, this recap may be longer than the others. After all, it’s back-to-back episodes.

First out of seven teams, the alliance (we learn it’s the Mine Five Alliance. Its origins go back to Leg 2 where they had to race through the salt mine) is still quite strong as all five are still alive.

It’s gone status quo, as DeAngelo says. But again, as teams get eliminated, how will the alliance work with one another as we’re now in the second half?

How will the above video affect the alliance? At some point in time, it’ll be every team for themselves, right? What’s not a free-for-all is learning they all will take the train from Paris to Berlin. Yes they have to get from the bridge to the train station by a taxi, but I’m breathing a sigh of relief for them as there’s no panic in picking the right taxi…this time. I’m also history nerd, so when I hear they’ll have to find their next clue at the East Side Gallery along the Berlin Wall, I find that as the coolest part of the race so far. Riley and Maddison have been doing relatively well when it comes to reading the clue. But as Riley says, “They’ll need to do a better job of reading the fine detail.” If you race hard and minimize the mistakes, you’ll survive the leg and advance to the next. You just can’t quit.

It’s also nice to see the camaraderie of the teams at the train station as the six pairs wait to see who that seventh team is. It really proves that you have to continue racing because until Phil says “You’re the last team and I’m sorry, but you’ve been eliminated,” you’re still in it.

Yes, they are pro athletes so their endurance is quite good. I’m also sure they are happy to not be running in sand. What seems to be like running in sand is the taxi driver for Kaylynn and Haley, who tells them to slow down so he can better understand their directions. Alliance or not, it’s also refreshing to see teams come together to figure out how to open that old-looking suitcase.

I would struggle driving manual transmission. Throw in a manual written in German for this old school vehicle and I might just lose my mind with this Trabant.

If one episode with Will struggling at the wheel of a manual transmission is good, then a second episode of Will struggling with his Trabant is even better, right?

The teamwork of the brothers is at the forefront again. Riley enters the vehicle to learn the intricacies while Maddison figures out the directions. I’m 6’0,” but I feel for the taller racers (most notably the 6’5” Gary) having to comfortably fit inside the small vehicles. Maddison compliments Riley with figuring out how to drive stick, but I laughed when he shared his biggest concern. “How are the blondes going to drive this?” I’m not sure if I’d be more lost driving stick shift or dancing to music with lyrics in a foreign language. You only live once, right??

Riley and Maddison also take a moment to welcome a fellow alliance team member (Hung and Chee) to come inside and dance with them at the Teledisko. Anyone feeling claustrophobic? It sure looks small for both DeAngelo and Gary, but then you throw in Hung and Chee with The Beard Brothers into this Teledisko? Dance til you can’t dance anymore, am I right?

We’re about halfway into Season 32. When do you use your yield? Do you even use it? And just how are you with heights? How about remembering letters? Now put those two together.

I’m okay with heights as seen at the Andel’s Hotel, but it might be a little different when rappelling face-first about 180 feet to street level. Pay attention to everything! Since DeAngelo panicked and didn’t remember the letters, he had to go back and do it again. As he goes up the staircase with Hung (who goes first), she tells him “my word is my bond and I’ll help you.” Maddison gets to ground level and well, didn’t pay attention to the finer things (the flashing letters) and is stunned when asked to unscramble the letters. And if you don’t know…ask the locals!

Sauerkraut. It’s easy to say the clue when other racers share it with you.

Drama! DeAngelo spots the taxi; he and Gary are off to the next location. In doing so, they leave Hung and Chee in disbelief as they try to find another cab. As Riley and Maddison wait for the Will and James to perform the roadblock, could this be the end of Hung and Chee working together with DeAngelo and Gary? We also see Leo and Alana choosing to not help Kaylynn and Haley because Leo doesn’t want to be in a race for last. Maybe that comes back to haunt him and Alana.

I also learned something new watching this episode…Beer Yoga. Have you heard of it before?

Drinking beer and doing yoga. It seems easy, right? I’ll be the first to say I’m neither flexible nor have I ever tried yoga. Bieryoga or Ballhaus Berlin. This detour seems difficult. Having to correctly sing the German lyrics to “I wish I were a chicken” may seem a little easier. But being judged by the Berlin Comedian Harmonists seems tough. All I know is I’d have as much trouble with it like Will and James did. Take a look at their faces!

The brothers remind us that beach volleyball players have tight hips. Riley jokes saying Maddison’s are worse than his and Maddison quickly says whatever. Oh those brothers! My hips are sore just watching it. I feel this is easier for the professional athletes because it’s like learning a playbook in football or going over a scouting report in volleyball. Memorization, verbiage…they are both key. Maddison hits the wrong trifecta here: 1. calls it German yoga (it’s beer yoga), 2. says salutations (it’s beer salutation) and 3. calls it plank (it’s beer bench). Always remember the finer details, right? Hmm, where have we heard this before? Dialed in for the second attempt, Maddison gets the verbiage correct and they successfully complete the challenge.

They’ve been in the top four this entire season. Riley and Maddison continue their strong racing as they get to the pit stop (the sixth pit stop is Neukölln) second. In the end, the Sisters team of Kaylynn and Haley are the last team to arrive…but this team seems to have lady luck on their side because…they aren’t eliminated…again!

Nine lives! And the look on the faces of the other teams! Sure the sisters have to perform another speed bump, but they are still racing! Lesson learned as we find out that the difference between first (DeAngelo and Gary) and third (Hung and Chee) is $15,000. It’s been a long race, but seeing the teams have so much fun while performing at the Ballhaus Berlin was refreshing.

Hour two? Let’s go! We left off with the Riley and Maddison at the Neukölln in Berlin, Germany. Two thirds, two fourths, a first and now a second. Riley and Maddison have been the most consistent team. They’ve maintained their togetherness, with themselves and the alliance. The goal for this alliance is have all five be the final five. Or is there a five? Hung and Chee seem to think DeAngelo and Gary (more so DeAngelo) only use the alliance for their benefit. Another laugh here as Maddison gives the cameraman a beard bump prior to all teams boarding the plane to Kazakhstan.

Seeing them run out of the airport and…there’s snow! It just looks cold, but the running must warm them up, right?

A constant theme of the show, paying attention to detail comes to fruition again here at the detour, The Kazakhfilm Studio in Almaty. Are you better at watching an action sequence and then having to answer questions based on what you witnessed (Great Khan’s Spy)? Or would you rather perform a choreographed fight scene (Knock Out Guy)? Performing their speed bump (applying prosthetic beards to one another), Kaylynn and Haley are jocking the style of the Beard Brothers, they’ll be so upset they won’t be the only ones with beards.

I totally would pick the choreographed fight scene, just like the brothers. Performing the fight scene just seems way cooler and you can hear the brothers in the background saying to one another, “this is so cool dude!” Taking all four stunts in stride, “it’s badass” as they seem to perform the easier of the two choices in the detour. Playing to their strengths, it just seems easier to use their athleticism to their advantage and perform this task quicker and easier than having to memorize what they would have seen during the action sequence.

Yes it looks easy learning the skills, but performing them when the director says “action” is something completely different. There’s also some pointless yelling (like in their hanabata days, am I right Mom and Dad?) coming from them through the entire scene. The boys make it look easy, completing it on the first try.

How fun is that! I mean, they both went to USC, so these Trojans know how to fight on! Leaving the studio first, the boys head to the nomad village in the Karasay District. There just seems to be no arguing or getting frustrated with one another, like there is going on between Gary and DeAngelo. Mom and Dad should be proud of just how well their boys are behaving on national television. There’s also an issue with some of the teams getting the fight scene correct, but also an issue with a few of them answering the questions correctly.

Teams take it all in again as they head to the nomad village. Seeing this is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! It really is something for them to be competing in an elimination race, all for the goal of winning $1-million, but still have the ability to look around for a few seconds and enjoy a remote place. Most have seen a camel only at the zoo, so it must be pretty cool having it carry your decorations to the yurt? Pay attention to detail, look at the example and match it exactly…we’ve really heard these before haven’t we? “Because we are nice guys, we choose not to yield” comes from the brothers, but will they regret not using their yield before it expires? Before their time on the race expires? Acting like a pairs team on the beach, they work together to carry the equipment from the camel to the yurt. Teamwork and paying attention to the example of the yurt, the brothers work together to decorate it. Using slipknots, it’s like tieing a volleyball net, right? I mean, from the baby courts at Outrigger to Hemmeter Fieldhouse at Punahou to USC’s Galen Center, they’ve tied a few volleyball nets in their day. But how well can the Hawai`i boys do this while it’s freezing cold outside (even if the sun is out)? “It’s really cold out here! My moustache has icicles growing on it…I’m gonna die!” Don’t die guys…you’ve got a million reasons not to! But they always seem to have hilarious one-liners!

The Sisters, now known as the blondies reach the Nomad Village to hear this from the Mine Five Alliance…

Leo and Alana seem to think they have an alliance with them. They trust them. And then this…

Looks like someone (Leo) chose to not help too early and well, it’s come back to bite him and his teammate. Yes the sisters are sorry to do this, but it is a race. It does seem the Mine Five Alliance have a firm grip on the race and led by Will and James, they know who they want out next…Leo and Alana. As Riley says, “it’s legendary.” Riley and Maddison take a brief break to see the sisters. They are surprised and amazed to see them also with beards. Remember the name of the episode? Listen closely to Maddison here. You be the judge: whose beard looks better?

As the brothers have said, they need to be better at paying attention to the little things. Well they forgot the boiled sheep’s head but still asked for a check on their yurt anyway. Upon seeing the thumbs down, they quickly ask the alliance (Will and James) if they know secret things. The alliance…it’s continuing to benefit Riley and Maddison. “Bummer,” as they receive the thumbs down a second time. What could be wrong? They got the boiled sheep’s head. There’s always one small detail missed…third time’s the charm. The boys head to Zelenyi Bazaar to search the meat market for the next clue. No other hint is given. Hung helps Gary to find the sheep head. Wait, I thought Hung and Chee aren’t helping Gary and DeAngelo?

How good are you at finding a needle in a haystack? That’s what it feels like, going through the meat market, looking for that red and yellow banner on the box. Eyes open, just looking all over the place. We see Will and James not looking at the taxi that has Riley and Maddison in it. They want that first place prize. Riley asks one of the local meat vendors for some help in finding the clue box who quickly points them in the right direction.

They’ve been in the top four, so why should this leg be any different. With music playing and dancers lining the last few yards to the world map rug, Riley and Maddison get to the pit stop (the seventh pit stop is First President’s Park) second. In the end, the Dating team of Leo and Alana are the last team to arrive and are eliminated. Remember the episode titles? One member from the married team (Hung) said, “I’m Not Even Walking, I’m Falling!” And finally the brothers are quoted here, with Maddison saying “Give Me A Beard Bump!”

We also find out that the next leg of the race is a Megaleg. Double the detours, double the roadblocks, double the distance. Episode 8 is titled “Are You a Rickshaw?” In episode eight, Riley and Maddison will make their way from Almaty, Kazakhstan to Hyderabad, India. The teams are quite good at hailing down a cab, but what about calling for a rickshaw in the busy streets of India? Then having to enter that vehicle information into a computer. Anyone else feel they are at a DMV? We know it’s a megaleg. This all can’t all fit into one hour, right? Hour two gives us Episode 9, “This Is Not Payback, This Is Karma.” Might we see a clash within the alliance and how involved are Riley and Maddison with it? Which relationship is getting even weaker? Can the brothers continue their strong racing to avoid elimination? Find out who says the quotes for these episodes TONIGHT at 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. For more of a video preview, click here:

To follow along via social media, visit @AmazingRaceCBS and @TheMcKibbinBros on Twitter or you can head to Instagram to visit @theamazingrace or @themckibbinbros. You can also subscribe to their YouTube page by searching for The McKibbin Brothers.