Steve and Linda Cole were this year’s designated country folks on The Amazing Race. The self-admitted huge fans of the show hoped to follow in the footsteps of rural TAR All Stars David and Mary. Unfortunately, the duo had problems from the start with both the physical and emotional challenges of the race. Linda dealt the team a fatal blow when she got lost on a hiking task. In an interview this afternoon, the duo sat down to discuss their brief experience on ‘The Race.’
Linda, how much time did you lose when you went the wrong way down the mountain?
About four hours. I got lost pretty good. I wasn’t even sure which side of the mountain I was on. It was pretty crazy.
Were you concerned when you accepted a van ride back up the mountain that you’d be assessed a time penalty?
I was very concerned about that, but I didn’t see any other way to get back because I didn’t know where I was at that point. I was walking down a road. I didn’t know if I should go left or go right. I had gone back up the mountain, walked a couple of fire trails. I was afraid that I was going to get even more lost so I went back down the mountain again. That’s when I stopped the van. The lady offered to give me a ride. I thought it had been four hours. We’re probably out of it. If we get a time penalty it probably wouldn’t kill us anyway. I was just feeling so down at that point because I thought there was no way we could catch up with anybody else.
Steve, what was going through your mind when everyone else came down the mountain except Linda?
There were a few teams that started before she did coming down the mountain. There was one or two others that got lost also. When they came in I was like, “Maybe there’s hope after all.” There was three teams that came in on the later flight. When they started coming in I knew there was a real problem. They said it would take an hour to get to the bottom. Linda’s slow so I figured it would take her two hours. When it hit hour three I was starting to get concerned. Jodi and Christie were the last team to come down, and they were 20 or 30 minutes before Linda came in. At that point I realized, “Hey. we’re not out of this thing. We’re still in it.”
So you two were really nipping at Jodi and Christie’s heels?
Linda: At the end when we got to the pie throwing, we realized there was still a chance. That brought up our hopes for a while. We didn’t realize that they were carrying a block of wood around, bless their hearts.
Steve: When we got off the mountain I wanted to stop and get Linda a drink. That was our first priority. Then after we did that we got directions and started across the mountain. I guess we did real good with all of that and we’d actually caught up. I didn’t realize until we passed them at the challenge. From the time we did the pie throwing contest to the woodcutter, we had to run like another ten minutes. It was hard after Linda had been on the mountain for so long. Her run slowed to a walk.
Linda: Jodi and Christie were great. When we passed them they said, “Good luck,” even thought hey knew they were up against us. They were so supportive. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit for that.
How close behind them were you when you came in to the Pit Stop?
Linda: Twenty or thirty minutes, I think. We didn’t see when they came in because they were still looking for the castle.
Steve: We had two issues after we went to the woodcutter. We went to another little town. That slowed us up some. Then, after that, when we got to the castle we could not find out how to get in the place. When we figured it out it was a god awful long walk.
Steve, you were very emotional when Phil eliminated you. What was going through your mind?
Steve: I wanted it so bad. I wanted to be on the show. I wanted to do well. When Phil said, “You’re eliminated,” it’s like everything’s over, that’s it. Your emotions just run so high. You’ll be on an extreme high one minute and an extreme low the next minute. We got into an argument the first night and I felt bad about that. My whole mood changed after that night. We woke up and we started fresh. We were more supportive.
A lot of fans thought you had a volatile relationship after watching the first episode. Was the second episode a more accurate portrayal?
Linda: Absolutely. I know that I am not a physical person. I didn’t want to let Steve down on the first leg of the race. God bless Jennifer and Preston. I feel bad that they were the first ones out, but I didn’t want us to be the first team out. It was a lot of pressure and a lot of stress. I was trying real hard. He wanted me to do good. He was getting frustrated. I totally understand where he came from.
Steve: Part of that argument was it was a long run to get to the church. We got into a footrace with Chris and Amanda and we didn’t do too well. That was where we started bickering with each other. The second thing was when we signed in, Jodi and Christie had signed the book twice. When I read the book it looked like we were in 11th when we were actually in 10th. It seemed like we were always in last. We didn’t want to get eliminated first. The pressure was just really on. It brought the worst out in me.
Steve, you seemed concerned that the other teams wouldn’t respect your intelligence. It was even an issue between you and Preston and the Elimination Station. Looking back on it, do you think the other teams treated you well?
Steve: We had problems communicating with the other teams. Mike and Mel were very nice and forthcoming with any information. When we were on the autobahn they stopped and waited for us to follow them. Kisha and Jen didn’t want to help us. I think it’s because they thought we were slow and couldn’t keep up with them.
Linda: It didn’t help that we had the argument the night before because that showed that I was slow and of course no one’s going to want to get hooked up with a team that has a handicap. I understand where everyone was coming from.
Steve: Preston and Jennifer and Chris and Amanda aligned pretty quick. They got the flight before we did. We were on the outskirts. We really didn’t get to know them on the first leg. Different people have different agendas. I was hoping that we’d meet a few people and race with them. That wasn’t some of the others’ agenda.
What advice would you give to future competitors on The Amazing Race?
Steve: (laughing) Stay off the reality forums because they bash you. The Race doesn’t start when Phil says go. The race starts when you fill out the application and you make a videotape. You have to start early. You can’t wait for them to say you’re on the Race. You have to be competitive before it starts.
How did going on the Race change your lives?
Linda: We got to go some wonderful places. We still speak with all the cast. We made some great friends. I kind of feel bad, like we let CBS down. I wish we did better for the person that fought for us to get on the show. That’s a little tough.
Steve: I think a lot of that is still in the unknown right now. Even after the Race it has been an emotional roller coaster. We did things that we were planning to do together. Even though there’s some uncertainty, I think there’s positive things in the future.
Linda: On the Race you say and do things to each other that you normally wouldn’t do.
Steve: It pulls out the good in you and it pulls out the bad in you.
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