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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 11 teams for Season 32 is 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 easily spotted throughout this season by the yellow shirts and beanies they wear. We’ve gone to Trinidad & Tobago…to Colombia…to Brazil…to Paraguay…to France…to Germany…to Kazakhstan…to India…to Cambodia. Now we’re headed to the Philippines. Only four remain.

Season 32 of The Amazing Race airs each Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. on KGMB. 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.  

Episode 11 (“Run on Your Tippy Toes”) into a preview of Episode 12 We left off with Riley and Maddison at Angkor Thom in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Another leg won (that’s now two in a row, three overall), Riley and Maddison must feel real confident. Their back pocket seems stuffed with the prizes they have won so far: a trip for two to Vietnam, a seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise for two from Saint Martin and a trip for two to Norway. How will they evenly split up these trips? With just three other teams left, it’s imperative to not lose focus on the ultimate goal…not only get to the final leg of the race, but to win the $1-million grand prize.

It was cool seeing the shot of the brothers huddled over a phone and looking at pictures of the hotel in Norway (their prize for winning the Cambodia leg was a five-night stay in Norway) they will stay at once Season 32 is over. They know they are the first to leave Cambodia and they are confident. “Being in the final four, it feels good. We’ve won two legs in a row and we’re peaking at the right time. Just don’t get too confident or cocky.”

We’ve known the Mine Five Alliance came to an end a couple of episodes ago and this new pact (Riley and Maddison, Will and James, Hung and Chee) has a goal to do whatever it takes to oust Gary and DeAngelo. Four teams left, how will working together continue to work out?

Upon seeing Will and James get to the airport, the Beard Brothers feel the Alliance is complete and the four hug it out. Anyone else sense some tense and awkward moments once Gary and DeAngelo get to ticketing and see the other three teams there?

We knew this episode was going to be very different from the others based upon seeing the preview from last week saying it would be a city sprint. Normally when you see host Phil Keoghan, it’s at the end of a leg. But…

It’s been an exhausting journey so far to say the least. So when the teams get to Lapu-Lapu Circle in Manila and I hear Phil say there are no detours, no roadblocks, that this leg is a city sprint, I feel tired already! And I’m only sitting on the couch watching! Phil explains:

I’ve used the Waze app when driving. It’s easy…just plug in your destination and go. But there is nothing that tells you to solve the riddle and find the dancing traffic enforcer at a very busyintersection (looks more like a cluster of a roundabout). And to get the clue, you had to stick out your arm and grab it from the traffic enforcer. I’m sorry, but I was told to keep my hands in the vehicle at all times. Luckily for all, their drivers know where to go to find the traffic enforcer.

Traffic is a nightmare here it seems and this leg seems more cutthroat than the others. But, you just have to keep racing, right? That also includes racing…in different footwear.

My feet are sore! The brothers had a great plan. Running 500 meters can be easy, especially for professional athletes. But to do so in heels, it’s something else. We hear DeAngelo say “I’ve run a 40-yard dash or two in my day, but never in heels.” Will and James get a laugh seeing the football players run the course. It’s also funny hearing them say “they have heels at home, but they are six-inch…not these little two-inch ones…but we look good doing it.” You go guys! Outside the Mall of Asia, Riley gives “props to women who wear heels.” Playing volleyball in the sand is one thing, but running in heels is something completely different. Because, if you break your ankle here…you break your chance at moving to the next leg. I wouldn’t want to break an ankle either.

We know they are halfway done with the city sprint and in first, but traffic can take care of that in an instant. Traffic…it’s out of your control. Seeing the teams find the lion dancer took me back to Chinese New Year Celebrations. Feed the lion! But, you had to reach inside to grab the next clue. I felt bad for Hung and Chee in that they couldn’t seem to find the Arch of Goodwill. They asked the locals for directions and even showed them what a lion or dragon looked like. It seemed as if they were back at home with their three kids acting out scenes from a movie.

There have been a few constant themes for Season 32. One of them (be aware of your surroundings) comes to fruition here as the teams get to the Bonifacio square outside the Manila Central Post Office. It really helps to look at all the vendors because…you could lose precious time if you miss that red and yellow banner in front of a vendor. Another constant has been teams taking in a moment. This time it’s Will and James dancing for a brief second at the MehanGarden before they begin the final, and most difficult task of this city sprint.

I feel relaxed, but also energized by listening to the band perform the songs. Having to lug various instrument cases out of the truck is one thing. But the flags of the countries you went to during the race…what do those look like? To me, knowing what each country’s flag looks like…that would be the easiest part of the task for me. But remembering if you heard music in that country and then putting them in the race order…that would be hard for me. Needing to listen to the four songs performed by the band, then put the instrument case with the flag of the country in order seems easy right? Nope! Trial and error. Trial and error. Frustration. Kicking an instrument case. Maybe a swear word too. Riley even says “this is the worst game ever!” “This is stupid!” says Will and James. Man, all emotions are coming out here!

Coming to the forefront is this group of three. Gary and DeAngelo know they are getting zero help, yet they ask Will and James to team up. “No.” With three teams struggling and then the arrival of Hung and Chee, all four are now performing this task. Hung and Chee also tell Gary and DeAngelo no. The professional football players aren’t frustrated…everyone here is struggling. How do you do this? Oh yeah, Riley’s feet are sore from running in those heels.

It seems like no one is going to get it. At one point, Gary and DeAngelo got three of the four cases in the right spots. To me, the first step would be to find the cases of the countries you’vebeen to. Get those together, then figure out your next step. The only problem here is other teams may see what you’re on to and catch on. Wait, that comes later! As Gary and DeAngelo test their latest four case guess, the other three teams get together by the van.

This new alliance is coming together and both Gary and DeAngelo know they need to get this before those three teams to. Figuring out two of the four cases (Trinidad and Tobago, and Colombia), Riley comes up with a plan to just fill the remaining two spots with two countries until the right combination is figured out. It’s getting uneasy as all variations come up empty. Do we just do a Hail Mary here? Something is wrong here.

What have we said before? Please tell us, Will and James…

It’s Leg 10, Episode 11. And we still can’t read the clue. READ. THE. CLUE! Luck just happened for The Brothers as they were walking to put down their latest combination when Hung and Chee tell them it’s the order of countries where the song was heard, NOT the order the band was playing them. They just happened to have the correct four cases with them as they walked to the band. For those at home: the order of the songs played by the band was (France, Colombia, Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago) and the order in which they were heard along the race (Trinidad & Tobago, Colombia, Paraguay and France). Riley says “we got it?!?!” as they receive the clue. Because they were given a lifeline by Hung and Chee, they basically wait until Gary and DeAngelo attempt their latest try to tell both Hung and Chee and Will and James the correct order. The alliance has pulled through and for the first time this season, a team (Gary and DeAngelo) quit on a task and are assessed a two-hour penalty.

They’ve won two straight, so why should this leg be any different. Make it three in a row! Jogging back to the start point of the race (Lapu-Lapu Circle), Riley and Maddison get to the world map rug and reach the pit stop (the tenth pit stop is Rizal Park) first. This is their thirdstraight first-place finish, fourth overall of the season. They are continuing to peak. While there is no prize for winning this leg of the race, they see a much bigger prize…this core alliance did what it set out to do…have all three teams get to the final leg of the race. It’s mind-blowingly unreal that these three are the final three. They each trusted one another and competed hard. The core alliance pulled through and there are a bunch of emotions as it all went according to plan from the beginning. Will and James cry, Hung and Chee run through the 4-person tunnel created by the other two teams as they finish in third. In the end, the former NFL stars team of DeAngelo and Gary are eliminated after being the last team to arrive. Remember the episode title? For a second straight week, Riley’s quote was used for the episode title as he said here in Episode 11 Run On Your Tippy Toes.” 

Episode 12 is titled “Now It’s About Winning.” In this final episode, Riley and Maddison will make their way from Manila, The Philippines to New Orleans, Louisiana and will get additional leg room (they received a free upgrade to premium-class). The three final teams are: the dating couple (Will and James), the married parents (Hung and Chee) and of course the professional beach volleyball teams (Riley and Maddison). Riley is confident they will win. They all have to bring it. It sure will be interesting to see them now compete against one another as the gloves will come off; the alliance can’t work together anymore. Racing through the French Quarter, how hungry are you to win $1 million? How much of a leap will you take to be that first team to reach world map rug at the 50-yard line of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and receive the grand prize? Find out which team marches to victory and who says the quote for this final episode TONIGHT at 7:00 p.m. For more of a video preview of the season finale in New Orleans, click here:

Also, for a touching moment with the three teams together at the pit stop in Manila, 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.

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