Mark and Michael still have three hours and ten minutes on the clock when Phil calls them over to check in. Looking sternly down at them as they stand on the mat, he tells them they're the last team to arrive. "The good news is, this is a non-elimination leg and you are still in the Race." Of course, it's never a non-elimination leg when it's one of my favorite teams. But at least I'm glad to see that bullshit penalty isn't what knocked them out. "But there is a lot of bad news," Phil warns. To start with, the remainder of their penalty will be added to their start time for the next leg, meaning they'll be leaving more than three hours behind Kisha and Jen. That might even be enough to cause them to miss a flight out, at least in previous seasons. And on top of that, there's the Speed Bump they'll have to do during the next leg. "Long way back, guys," he says. Michael has made use of their penalty time to come up with a self-serving spin for this to try out of Phil: "We put ourselves in a situation and the only way we were going to get back was to take care of the people. In the land of Buddha, I don't want to create bad karma." Phil just glares at him like, "Sell that crap elsewhere, please."
In their post-leg interview, Michael admits that they've "made some poor decisions." So they have to stay levelheaded and not panic. "We have two major obstacles in this next leg...but we're not the type of guys who give up." Mark adds, "As long as my name and his name is on a Pit Start, we're in the game. We're gonna play it. Play it to the best of our ability." Can you imagine how obnoxious they'll be if they actually do find some way to win this thing after racking up five hours' worth of penalties? I'm not sure I want to think about that.
M. Giant is a Minneapolis-based writer with a wife, a son, and a number of cats that seems to have settled at around two. Learn waaaay too much about him at Velcrometer, follow him on Twitter (mgiant), or just e-mail him at M.Giant[at]gmail.com