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Door County Cherry

World's Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji

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Before Mark Burnett brought us Survivor, he brought us the Eco-Challenge.  I wasn't a Survivor fan but I loved the Eco-Challenge and was sad when it seemingly stopped happening.

All episodes drop on Amazon Prime on Aug. 14.

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World's Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji From the creator of Survivor, 66 teams descend upon Fiji to compete in the most epic global adventure race ever attempted. Bear Grylls hosts this 11-day expedition that pushes competitors to their physical and emotional limits.

 

Anyone else looking forward to this?  For those who never watched, it's like a combination of Survivor and The Amazing Race but usually with people who train for this kind of race and no voting anyone out.  Having your team finish is a win if not THE win.

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12 hours ago, Door County Cherry said:

Anyone else looking forward to this? 

I am now!  I didn't know about this so thank for starting this topic.  I really enjoyed the Eco-Challenge and will definitely be watching this.  I don't watch Survivor either and The Amazing Race is fun but has gotten stuck because they feel they need to cast personalities.    The pure, kicking-your-ass racing is what I want to see!

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Amazon has it up early.  10 minutes into the second episode and it's already getting a little misty in here.  

I don't want to work tomorrow.  I just want to stay up all night and watch this. Hey, if these teams can stay up all night paddling and biking and hiking, surely I can do it sitting on my butt watching TV, right?

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I'm on episode 4 and disappointed that they have shown almost NOTHING of Canada Adventure. They're near the top of the leaderboard and are a ridiculously stacked team. Two of their competitors (Rea Kolbl and Ryan Atkins) are top Spartan racers who have done/won major ultra-endurance events.

Edited by ClareWalks · Reason: Because Adventure =/= Extreme
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I’m on Episode 7 now. This show is great. I don’t think—correction—I KNOW I’d never have the strength or tenacity to compete in something like this, but the athletes doing it are really impressive. 
 

My friend’s husband is on one of the teams, so it’s been fun following him. 
 

I find that I want Team New Zealand to win, and I usually don’t root for frontrunners. I like that one of their teammates is a mom with two very young children. 
 

ETA: I wonder why some teams repeatedly have problems with navigation and end up off course for several kilometers,  while others never get turned around. 
 

And what’s your opinion on the Daddy-daughter team? Millennial wimps, or am I fatigue-shaming that family? LOL 
 

 

 

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Whew.  I can't believe it took these teams five days to finish.  I managed to do it in just over a day.

That was worth the wait.  I absolutely love this race.  It's like a marathon.  For some, it's absolutely about placement.  For others, just finishing it is the win.  I hope enough people watch it that we'll get another season.  I might watch it again at some point to just take in the scenery.  The cinematography was just gorgeous. 

1 hour ago, topanga said:

My friend’s husband is on one of the teams, so it’s been fun following him. 

Cool.  Did he finish?

1 hour ago, topanga said:

And what’s your opinion on the Daddy-daughter team? Millennial wimps, or am I fatigue-shaming that family? LOL 
 

I don't think it has anything to do with their age.  There were two younger racers running with their fathers and they seemed to be pretty serious.  

I think it all comes down to team chemistry.  I suspect the dad hadn't raced in a while but he agreed to race when one of his daughters wanted to do it. Had it just been the two of them paired with two other racers, that dynamic might have looked much different.  But when they brought in the sister, who doesn't really sound like she had been dreaming of racing, they essentially set up a no obligation dynamic.  The fourth person on their team, who we knew nothing about, really didn't matter.

Compare that to the other teams with relatives racing together-Team Endure, the Indian sisters, Team North and Team Georgia AR.  They still had two other team members who I presume they felt a sense of responsibility towards.  In those dynamics, there was this sense of obligation to take another step or try a little harder--even if someone is throwing up all the time or can't stand.  Even with Mark, whose team was solely there to take him as far as he felt comfortable, you could tell he never wanted to let his team down.  

There was safety to quit with the dad and his daughters.  Dad was likely only doing it for the daughter.  And when you're tired, it's really easy to give up when someone else expresses an interest in giving up.  There was no one to say "take an hour, rest, eat, and we'll reass" as you saw so often in other groups where the default expectation was continuing.

All that said, they still did a pretty good job. I practically twisted my ankle coming down the stairs so I'd probably be in traction after a mile long hike.

2 hours ago, topanga said:

ETA: I wonder why some teams repeatedly have problems with navigation and end up off course for several kilometers,  while others never get turned around. 

Navigation is a skill.  And I wonder what kind of clues they give them to tell them where to go.  I remember being confused on hiking trails and they supposedly "label" those.  I also think some teams tried to take "short cuts" and that threw them off.

Now a spoiler question about the winning team:


I would really like to know what kind of rules were in place that the NZ Team could essentially call Mayday, get pulled to safety and yet still race when it seemed like other teams that were "rescued" weren't allowed to continue. 

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5 hours ago, Door County Cherry said:

 


I would really like to know what kind of rules were in place that the NZ Team could essentially call Mayday, get pulled to safety and yet still race when it seemed like other teams that were "rescued" weren't allowed to continue. 

I was falling asleep while this was happening but didn't he say the boat came apart? Were they allowed to finish because they were given faulty equipment?

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I felt bad for the other member of the father, daughters team as really he would be out-voted for probably everything. On the flipside the team probably got more air time then it would have otherwise due to the father, daughters situation.

Some of the stories were so inspiring. I am impressed that people can continue to push themselves to such limits on barely any sleep.

To do this race at 68 is so remarkable, to do it with Alzheimer’s is amazing. I am so impressed by those teams and the son supporting his dad Mark.

Edited by fountain
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On 8/7/2020 at 7:52 PM, Door County Cherry said:

Before Mark Burnett brought us Survivor, he brought us the Eco-Challenge.  I wasn't a Survivor fan but I loved the Eco-Challenge and was sad when it seemingly stopped happening.

Well it's back on Amazon Prime Aug. 14.

I hadn't seen this advertised, so I'm glad I noticed the new thread! 

I, too, loved the Eco-Challenge on Discovery back in the late '90s.  A friend with whom I went on hiking trips back then also watched each year, and we talked for about five minutes about possibly forming a team and trying out, before realizing we'd be in way over our heads.

I'm glad it's back.  I hope it doesn't have a more sensationalized tone to it all these years later (I never had any interest in Survivor or his other shows, so I want this to be more like the old-school Eco-Challenge than that show).

 

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I loved the series back in the day. Robyn Benincasa was my favourite racer - I remember being totally outraged when Team Eco Internet dropped her. I also remember one race the Japanese team captain (I think) carried a team member a good chunk of the race after she hurt her ankle. 

I remembered quite a few of the racers from the previous Eco Challenges,

The one thing I wasn't iffy on was them being able to hire help/horses. On one hand, it's providing some entrepreneurs in the village some money, but it takes a bit away from the race. I suspect it was part of them being able to film there and use the villages.

I also felt that there was too many similar legs - ie, lots of mountain biking, lots of stand up paddle. I would've liked to see more variation, but they were probably restricted due to the terrain.

Next race will be Patagonia in 2021 (not sure when, for obvious reasons). I know the 1999 Argentina season I really enjoyed because there was a big variation in terrain and there was a lot of different disciplines during the race.

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24 minutes ago, sadtvjunkie said:

Does anyone know the rules to make a team? I noticed (I'm on episode 3) that each team has at least 1 female member. Is that a rule?

The rule is that at least one member has to be the opposite sex so they couldn't have an all-female team either.

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I've only watched episode 1--scrolling past other comments to avoid spoilers--but just noting I watched the old show. Was there more than one season? I just watched one--with a group called the Couch Potatoes who were rookies just trying to finish. I remember they were funny. I always wanted to see more of the show so I was so excited to see this was on. 

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The seasons are:

1995 Utah

1995 Maine/New England

1996 BC

1997 Australia

1998 Morocco

1999 Argentina

2000 Borneo

2001 New Zealand

2002 Fiji

2019 Fiji

Some of them are on YouTube.

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I had never watched any of the previous iterations, but love The Amazing Race.  However, I didn't realize til halfway through the series that it was done by Mark Burnette. I should have caught on when he was spending all that time on Gretchen's deafness and Mark's Alzheimers.    

I thought that the editing of Mark Macy bordered on exploitative, with the almost-constant references to his condition and his son's almost-constant sobbing.  I don't blame the contestants for showing their feelings, that race is beyond TOUGH.  But I hate having those emotional outpourings displayed so continually that other competitors stories are being pushed aside to concentrate on the scripted drama.  And maybe they could shoehorn in a few more references about the guy from Team Curls having a dad that committed suicide.  That really pissed me off they kept dragging that up.  

These types of physical reality shows don't need so much injected personal trauma to be compelling.  I won't watch another one produced by Burnette.  

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I think it was allowed for the reason Anniebird stated above: the equipment they were given was faulty, so it was replaced and they weren't penalized. 

But I think when something happened as a result of a contestant damaging their equipment, they could ask for a replacement if one was available from an eliminated team.  One guy damaged his bike, so production was allowed to bring him parts he needed from a bike that wouldn't be used by the team not finishing. 

There were very few rules outlined, what was and wasn't permitted.  Like "renting" a horse, buying billlybilly paddles that were custom cut by a Fijian, etc....All fine & dandy.  

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I have to give a shout out to the unsung heroes - the embedded camera people!  I don't know if they did every step of the course but they did a lot and had to film whenever they did.

Despite the catamaran flip and Bear's attempts to inject some drama, there was no doubt the New Zealand team would win. 

I was thrilled that Khukuri Warriors finished.  I also ended up getting attached to the iron man team but my favorite racer was Emma from Team Summit (Spain) who was a great narrator as well as a terrific racer.

3 hours ago, leighdear said:

. I should have caught on when he was spending all that time on Gretchen's deafness and Mark's Alzheimers.    

The Mark stuff got a little uncomfortable with the saving grace for me being that he is still lucid and didn't seem to mind putting it out there.  I got annoyed with the focus on Gretchen's team because it was obvious they were going nowhere; I suppose part of the novelty was that they were the first team out.

The focus on the team with the father and daughters was tiresome and fourth guy was practically non-existent.  Then again, he probably just wanted to race and didn't care about the cameras.

I was happy that both Fiji teams finished.   The cinematography was top notch and Gryllis was a decent host and you know at least he could do the course - the back flip from the helicopter was impressive.

I liked the last few episodes the best, with the focus on the back of the pack teams.  There's the drama of Team Curl who seemed to be cruising to a finish until that one guy opted out after the bike accident and the team with the guy with the swollen and infected leg who didn't want to quit and had to be basically forced out.   Those are the kinds of dynamics I like to see.

Still there were so many teams we didn't hear from and ones at the end I had never heard of - I remember thinking "who the hell is Team Flying J"?

Team Onyx broke my heart  😞

 

 

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3 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

Can anyone explain why Team New Zealand was provided with a new catamaran and allowed to continue?   

They did make the comment that it was race supplied equipment, and since it was broken they would bring another one.  The equipment they supply is supposed to function properly, and since no one else had this issue it does seem they got a bad boat.  They were penalized to a degree as they lost time waiting for help and a boat.  I think had they just not been able to row, or use the boat properly,  or caused the damage it would have been different.  

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4 hours ago, leighdear said:

There were very few rules outlined, what was and wasn't permitted.  Like "renting" a horse, buying billlybilly paddles that were custom cut by a Fijian, etc....All fine & dandy. 

They did kind of tip their hat at being able to hire help at a checkpoint when they were told they could hire helpers to carry packs but I do wish we'd get a sense of an overview of the rules.  From what I recall, it's a pretty open race.  For instance, just because it's a bike section or whitewater rafting section doesn't necessarily mean those are the methods one has to use to get to the next checkpoint.  It just is usually the fastest way to get there.  That's part of the reason we see teams getting lost as well.  

2 hours ago, raven said:

The Mark stuff got a little uncomfortable with the saving grace for me being that he is still lucid and didn't seem to mind putting it out there. 

This.  Also, it sounds like both he and his son are experienced racers and that helped a lot.  This wasn't just a lark for Mark.  He was planning to do this with Stray Dogs and his son was on a competitive team before this diagnosis.  They all knew what this was about--cameras and everything. 

2 hours ago, raven said:

Despite the catamaran flip and Bear's attempts to inject some drama, there was no doubt the New Zealand team would win. 

That's why I don't mind the focus on the personal stories.  The kind of race doesn't lend itself to having a foot race so I really get into wanting people to finish.  

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I wish they had focused on more of the non English speaking teams, especially Team East Wind. I don't mind reading subtitles, TV producers.

I am also hoping that at some point the previous seasons will end up on Amazon as well. I haven't seen Borneo since it aired and it was a great race.

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Does anyone have the exact finish order of the teams? I've searched but haven't come up with the accurate one yet. I would like to see how my hometown did did. I kept seeing them on the board and few spots above Stray dogs and a few of the other lower teams but can't find if they finished. 

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I did love how the 2 Fiji Teams walked onto the mat together.  Very cool. 

I'm not against seeing some back stories, I agree that the active parts needs to be broken up.  But, where was the story about the racer that volunteered to teach elementary eco skills to handicapped kids?  Or the racer that teaches adults remedial reading so they can get better jobs?  Or the vet that works with returning soldiers? Maybe a lawyer that volunteers to help small minority business' off the ground?   Maybe a little positivity?

(These are made-up to illustrate my point that not all the back stories have to feature heart-breaking loss, impending death and trauma)

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I've only watched thru Episode 6 but I've been thoroughly spoiled because I googled the results because I couldn't wait.

I used to watch Eco Challenge 20 years ago. I remember being glued to the tv and the computer. It was thrilling. This new season, not so much. I'm a little bored. I suspect it's just me and the fact that 20 years have gone by and life is not as carefree as it was then. But I also think it's a bit of production issues. This race is so huge and so logistically complicated that I'm sure it's extremely hard to tell the story in any coherent way. Plus there's oceans of difference in skills between the top 10 teams and everybody else so it's really like there are two races. Maybe it would make more sense to edit half the series episodes with a focus on just the elite teams, and then half with the focus on everybody else. When they mix it up I get confused.  I'm getting older too.

I'm just so bemused when men on these shows say some variation of the following to women competitors: "You're so tough. You're the toughest woman on earth. I admire you so much for being such a tough woman adventure racer." Seriously? - these women are physically and mentally tougher than 95% of all the people (including men) on earth. (That may be hyperbole.) The elite women racers are in the toughest 10% of everyone who raced in Fiji. I'll take Emma Roca for my team over any man anywhere anytime. Stop acting like the girl is obviously the weak link in your team. A while back there was a news story about a poll where something like 80% of men polled were confident they could score a point off of Serena Williams on the tennis court. So much unsupported confidence! She's arguably one of the top 5 greatest athletes of any gender EVER but, sure, you can score a point off of her if you just put down your beer for a second. Because she's a girl athlete. I'm certain there are a lot of men sitting home watching Fiji on amazon and thinking "If that chick can do this I can do it. I'll train for a few weeks and get my buddies together and then sign up for Patagonia 2021. WooHoo!"

Speaking of tough women competitors, why did they waste so much story telling time on the daughters (the whiny ones, not the tough twins from India?  Honestly that whole family dynamic was weird and I didn't enjoy it. Well, that's what the ff button is for.

So I love Emma Roca. And Team Onyx. And the people of Fiji. It was awesome to see some familiar faces from the last Fiji race, like the Brazilian women. I loved Team Unbroken and it was devastating to watch them struggle so. And of course Nathan Fa'avee and Sophie Hart and Team New Zealand. They were the real stars of the show but that's great because they're a really admirable team. One face I missed was Robyn Benincasa. I was crazy about her 20 years ago.

I would literally die if I tried this race. My heart would actually explode after about 5 minutes. I get winded walking to the refrigerator. So I admire anyone who showed up. But I'm really not interested in the stories of the teams of work buddies who just decided to go for it and apply because they all have curly hair (or some connection). Or the dad (and mom) who, for some unknown reason, thought it'd be fun to vacation  in Hell with their entirely too whiny daughters for a few days. It's not fun, IMO, to watch them actually suffer before they invariably get cut or quit or almost die. I'd rather give their screen time to teams like Team Canada who, I think, finished second and we barely met them.

tl;dr This is a cool show, with some badass women and a great competition. There's also stuff that annoys me and the world revolves around me so I had to tell you about it. Also Emma Roca is my hero!

 

 

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19 minutes ago, zibnchy said:

This race is so huge and so logistically complicated that I'm sure it's extremely hard to tell the story in any coherent way.

This.  While I enjoyed the show in general, I found it extremely disconnected to watch the top teams doing a task in one episode and other teams doing the same task 3 episodes later.  It actually made me appreciate the intentional bunching points on The Amazing Race.  

I thought that Bear Grylls was fairly superfluous to the race, other than bringing name recognition to an event that hasn't been run in 18 years. While he is undoubtedly one of the few TV hosts who could actually run the race himself (although I wouldn't rule out TAR's Phil Keoghan, he is a Kiwi, after all), I thought that have him show up randomly wearing a backpack that he wasn't actually using was kind of stupid. 

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Holy waterworks at the end of episode 8. Watching Macy and his old team, Stray Dogs, reunite was very touching. 
 

Overall, I really enjoyed the series and I was so impressed with everyone’s efforts, especially the back-of-packers. But watching the injuries was brutal. If I never see another person with trench foot or an infected leg again, it’ll be too soon. 

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37 minutes ago, Quilt Fairy said:

I thought that Bear Grylls was fairly superfluous to the race, other than bringing name recognition to an event that hasn't been run in 18 years. While he is undoubtedly one of the few TV hosts who could actually run the race himself (although I wouldn't rule out TAR's Phil Keoghan, he is a Kiwi, after all), I thought that have him show up randomly wearing a backpack that he wasn't actually using was kind of stupid.

Those manufactured scenes when he shows up near the site of a medallion, backpack on, hair artfully mussed, clothes artfully grimy, not looking at all like he just got off a helicopter 1 minute ago, and showed us how to retrieve the medallion (in one case just by, um, going up to a guy and asking for it.) were hilarious. They were good enough that I wonder if maybe they were all a big joke and he was in on it. Anyway, whatever, he was ok.

What was the deal with those medallions, anyway? They were big and appeared to be metal and must have added weight to the packs but what was the point? Like, here's 5 big hunks of metal for you to schlepp across Hell while you're trying not to die. I haven't finished watching so maybe the answer is yet to be found.

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12 hours ago, zibnchy said:

Those manufactured scenes when he shows up near the site of a medallion, backpack on, hair artfully mussed, clothes artfully grimy, not looking at all like he just got off a helicopter 1 minute ago, and showed us how to retrieve the medallion (in one case just by, um, going up to a guy and asking for it.) were hilarious. They were good enough that I wonder if maybe they were all a big joke and he was in on it. Anyway, whatever, he was ok.

What was the deal with those medallions, anyway? They were big and appeared to be metal and must have added weight to the packs but what was the point? Like, here's 5 big hunks of metal for you to schlepp across Hell while you're trying not to die. I haven't finished watching so maybe the answer is yet to be found.

I figure they are "proof" that the team completed the required parts of the leg. They do show them to someone at the appropriate checkpoint. Other than that, a cool keepsake, I suppose.

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I didn't love this as much as I did the old ones - and I really could have done without that ridiculous host - as it felt more "OMG, Drama!" forced rather than simply presenting a challenge that is inherently dramatic, but it was still enjoyable.

Team Onyx was a favorite, so I was sad to see them have to bow out, but respect the talk they had on the way back to camp how they would make the decision whether to continue, and then how they indeed made it.  I loved how Sam sprang into action when they found Clifton had crashed his bike; she immediately refocused him from the bike to "Are you okay?" and then found his helmet to inspect it.  When she found a crack in it, she made him sit down.

I also liked the captain of Team Flying J, looking at her teammate not even able to stand up because his leg is so infected and saying, "I'm calling it" when he was insisting on continuing.  And then the other guys objected!  The hell?  I'm glad she was captain.  (They were all military, so she's used to this macho bullshit; I wouldn't be surprised if she insisted on being captain in order to participate [since they had to have a woman on the team], knowing that if they got into a situation where someone should not go on for their own safety, those guys would all insist on continuing.)

I would have liked to see more of the Fijians (not just the two teams, but the people whose villages, homes, horses, and labor were being used) and more of some contenders who didn't speak English. 

But I liked the overall trajectory, with how jarring it increasingly became to see how far behind those bringing up the rear were from those vying for the title.  As always, I was more interested in the teams who were just trying to finish, not place.  The NZ team is quite obviously impressive, though.

Back in the day, I used to watch this and think about where in the race I'd have to quit because I couldn't physically do it.  This time I kept thinking, "Even if I could do this, I wouldn't" -- I'm too old for the miserable conditions (pushing my bike up a hill whose soil has been made into the consistency of peanut butter by rain?!) so watching people older than me press on was impressive.

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21 hours ago, zibnchy said:

What was the deal with those medallions, anyway? They were big and appeared to be metal and must have added weight to the packs but what was the point? Like, here's 5 big hunks of metal for you to schlepp across Hell while you're trying not to die.

In the beginning I thought the medallions might be some kind of puzzle that had to be solved à la Indiana Jones, or at least searched for  à la Amazing Race.  I was disappointed when they served no significant purpose.

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I think it's because the medallions seem to come after a skills challenge like doing a free dive or scaling a cliff/waterfall.  There's flexibility in how you get from Checkpoint A to Checkpoint B but little in accessing the medallion. 

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On 8/16/2020 at 6:11 PM, raven said:

I have to give a shout out to the unsung heroes - the embedded camera people!  I don't know if they did every step of the course but they did a lot and had to film whenever they did.

I was a cameraman for a similar race, the Montezuma's Revenge in CO. It was the hardest 24 hour mountain bike race covering 200+ miles and over 30,000 vertical feet of climb. My job was to get b-roll of the riders at various parts of the race. That meant I had to get ahead of them. Most of it was done by hiking straight up the mountainside bypassing the switchbacks of the various trails. It was grueling work but I did get to rest as I waited for at least 10 riders to pass before packing up and finding a new spot. 

I had never done it before and was only given a map. This was in 2005 so no cell phones up there or GPS. I did get lost once buy so did a rider and we stumbled across each other. I ended up filming his lost segment. Lol. 

Thankfully I didn't have to climb Grays Peak which is over 14k feet. They put a single cameraman up there that just camped out. I didn't film at night so slept in my car which froze over in the night. Next morning I got a 4wheeler which was a blast because I could find all sorts of shortcuts to jump ahead. At this point the riders are so spread out so it is hard to pick a spot. Lots of waiting. I was getting creative so I would climb trees to get weird viewpoints. 

By the end I saw so many people break down physically. Watching this show I couldn't imagine what they go through. I'm sure the camera crew have much better support than our dinky show but they are definitely being put through the wringer as well. The weather alone is inescapable. Sounds like an awesome gig! 🙂

On ep 3 and am enjoying it so far. 

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If anyone wants more of the Iron Cowboy, Amazon has a documentary on his 50-50-50 quest.  Just search for "Iron Cowboy."  It popped up when I finished THE WORLD'S TOUGHEST RACE (holy branding, Batman--does everyone get a dollar each time they say that on camera?) and it took every ounce of strength I had...to resist the urge to keep sitting on my couch watching people do hard things.  That  sitting-at-my-computer work I do wasn't going to do itself 😉

I enjoyed this new iteration of Eco-Challenge immensely, but I think I liked the older ones even better.  I'm going to have to go searching to see which ones I can re-watch (and if it's free, it's for me).  Happy for the Kiwis, they are tremendous racers, but I enjoy watching the further back teams even more.  For the Kiwis it seems like it's a job.  They are efficient, they tick a task off the list and move on to the next thing, and they seem happy to be doing well, but there just seems to be more pure joy in the teams that are racing just to finish.  In the article linked above, Mark Burnett was quoted as saying re: the Kiwis, "You cut their arms off, and it's just going to be wires." He hit the nail on the head--they are machines, and it's a beautiful thing to watch such amazing athletes do their thing, but to quote Jimmy Dugan from A League of their Own, "The hard is what makes it good."  I cringe watching some of the struggles of the further-back teams, but I feel their triumph (AND their heartbreak) even more because of it.

ETA:

Quote

 

Interesting post-race interviews with most (all?) of the US teams, including ones they didn’t even give airtime to: http://www.usara.com/eco-challenge-coverage.html

Also has link to final leaderboard.

 

 Ooooh, thanks for that!  I was wondering if anyone had the foresight/patience to put together a leaderboard based on on-screen info and screen caps!

Edited by Lovecat

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On 8/17/2020 at 9:40 PM, Quilt Fairy said:

I thought that Bear Grylls was fairly superfluous to the race, other than bringing name recognition to an event that hasn't been run in 18 years. While he is undoubtedly one of the few TV hosts who could actually run the race himself (although I wouldn't rule out TAR's Phil Keoghan, he is a Kiwi, after all), I thought that have him show up randomly wearing a backpack that he wasn't actually using was kind of stupid. 

I got annoyed when Bear felt it necessary to constantly say "Respect" to everybody.  Sure, it's nice, but becomes trite & overused after the 16th time.  And I doubt people would think he did NOT respect him if he didn't say it. 

He was just there to hang out the door of a helicopter and shout inane things at the camera.  But no harm done.  

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11 hours ago, lynxfx said:

I'm sure the camera crew have much better support than our dinky show but they are definitely being put through the wringer as well. The weather alone is inescapable. Sounds like an awesome gig! 🙂

There are several times I thought of the camera people, especially those times when the 4th wall was broken and they briefly became part of the story.  Sometimes I feared for their safety, since, to paraphrase the Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire joke, they're doing everything the racers are doing, only backwards and carrying some f*ing heavy cameras.  Right before Team Curl had that crash and they were zipping down the road on mountain bikes, I couldn't help but think "They're going too fast, they're going too fast, OMG there's a cameraman going that fast in front of them!"  

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2 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

Right before Team Curl had that crash and they were zipping down the road on mountain bikes, I couldn't help but think "They're going too fast, they're going too fast, OMG there's a cameraman going that fast in front of them!"  

Haven't got to that point but those types of cameramen are crazy good athletes. I worked for a guy that was a paralympic skier. He would film downhill races skiing backwards while holding a studio sized camera on his shoulder. 

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5 hours ago, Lovecat said:

Happy for the Kiwis, they are tremendous racers, but I enjoy watching the further back teams even more.  For the Kiwis it seems like it's a job.  They are efficient, they tick a task off the list and move on to the next thing, and they seem happy to be doing well, but there just seems to be more pure joy in the teams that are racing just to finish.

I realized how very different I am from the NZ team members when they decided to scale the falls overnight, and all I could think was how sad it was they weren't going to see them.

22 hours ago, TimothyQ said:

Interesting post-race interviews with most (all?) of the US teams, including ones they didn’t even give airtime to: http://www.usara.com/eco-challenge-coverage.html

Reading virtually ever single person interviewed respond to the "favorite moment" question by talking about how wonderful the people of Fiji were to them just irritates me anew that we saw very little of them and heard even less. 

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14 minutes ago, Bastet said:

I realized how very different I am from the NZ team members when they decided to scale the falls overnight, and all I could think was how sad it was they weren't going to see them.

EXACTLY!!  No way would I haul my fat ass all the way up there and not be able to look back and appreciate what I had just done.  [Ha!  As if my fat ass would make it more than an hour into THE WORLD'S TOUGHEST RACE.  ::cha-ching!::  Where's my buck, Burnett?]

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On 8/18/2020 at 3:17 PM, Bastet said:

I also liked the captain of Team Flying J, looking at her teammate not even able to stand up because his leg is so infected and saying, "I'm calling it" when he was insisting on continuing.  And then the other guys objected!  The hell?  I'm glad she was captain.

Did they? I thought it was only the one racer with the injured leg who insisted on continuing. I don’t remember anyone else saying they should go on. 

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16 minutes ago, Cotypubby said:

Did they? I thought it was only the one racer with the injured leg who insisted on continuing. I don’t remember anyone else saying they should go on. 

Yeah, someone else said, "Don't do that yet" or something along those lines.

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What I want to know is how much did the cameramen actually do!? There were parts where the embedded camerapeople definitely did the course with them, like going through that canyon with the rushing river, but were they also swimming in the freezing pools? Did they have extra gear to keep them warm or something or what if a cameraman got hypothermia?

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10 hours ago, Cotypubby said:

What I want to know is how much did the cameramen actually do!? There were parts where the embedded camerapeople definitely did the course with them, like going through that canyon with the rushing river, but were they also swimming in the freezing pools? Did they have extra gear to keep them warm or something or what if a cameraman got hypothermia?

I suppose it's possible that some of that was filmed by drone cameras.

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9 minutes ago, Quilt Fairy said:

I suppose it's possible that some of that was filmed by drone cameras.

In the article linked above about how the designers came up with the course, it's stated there were "200 cameras filming the action, including 23 Varicams and a small army of GoPros and drones".

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And from the article about the cameraman who filmed the bike race, it sounds like they all took shifts.  Part of the worst part of this is the fact that racers barely sleep.  It might be easier (or "easier" comparatively) to do just a leg and then get to rest while others go the next bit with them. 

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