Land of the Lost: "Fatal Error" Did in Amazing Race's Steve and Linda
Steve and Linda, The Amazing Race 14
Linda Cole went off the beaten path down the mountain and found herself and her husband, Steve, off The Amazing Race 14. "It was probably just as painful to watch it as it was when it happened," Steve tells TVGuide.com. Navigating mountain paths wasn't the only thing that cost them a spot in the final nine though. The married couple of 17 years opened up to us to shed more light on how they ended up on that troublesome leg, why they signed up for the Race in the first place and who they're rooting for to win the $1 million.
TVGuide.com: Linda, why did you decide to do the Roadblock?
Linda: When it first came up, it was paragliding, so I thought you pretty much just glide down the mountain. I was like, "Well, I can do this." Well, unfortunately, you can blame it on the wind. [Laughs] I decided not to wait and go down the mountain, and I am not a runner. Unfortunately, I don't run well. I got lost on the mountain. I tried to climb back up, I went down fire trails and by the time I got down the mountain the second time, I didn't know where I was. I mean, it was just a mess.
Steve: If we knew we would end up running that, we never would've let her do that. I would've done that.
TVGuide.com: How far did that set you back?
Linda: Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I was lost in the mountains for four hours with no water or anything. Steve will know the time when the last team came down the mountain, which was Jodi and Christie, who were on the last flight an hour behind us, and I think it was, like, 25 or 30 minutes.
TVGuide.com: How did you get that car ride back up the mountain, Linda?
Linda: I stopped a car to get directions and she offered me a ride. So I figured the worst-case scenario would be I would get a penalty, so it was just a risk I took.
TVGuide.com: It's a moot point because you were eliminated, but would you have gotten a penalty for the car?
Steve: We don't know. We probably would have. We weren't the only team to get lost on the mountain. There were several other teams, and I know there was at least one other team that, I was told, got a car ride, so they would've been penalized.
TVGuide.com: Did you guys get lost after you left the mountain? All of the sudden, the shots were at night and it had been 14 hours since the Pit Start.
Linda: The problem was after we did the pies, you had to get the little sawed-off piece of wood. You had to go around the lake and then back into this little town area. After four hours of running on that mountain, I could hardly walk, so that slowed us up a lot.
Steve: I didn't realize Jodi and Christie had already done their pie-throwing and they were going to the wood-cutter. I think that's when we passed them. But that was a good sign that we saw them because they were still there and there's still a whole lot that can happen. But then we ended up going to the wrong town looking for the wrong castle for the Pit Stop. There was another city that was, like, two letters off. So that threw us off. When we got to the castle, we could not figure out how to get in this thing.
TVGuide.com: Did you try to climb the gate like Mike did?
Steve: If I had seen the gate, I would've kicked it open! [Laughs] You had to park in a specific parking place, but the lots were opposite of where the signs said they were. So we drove all the way to the end and checked every entrance possible. Where Mike was, we were actually right there, but we didn't see Phil there. So we ended up in this long alleyway.
TVGuide.com: How far behind — or maybe even how close — were you to Jodi and Christie?
Linda: They immediately sequester you when you get in there, but we heard it was about 30 minutes.
TVGuide.com: On the first episode, things were a little tense between you guys. On this week's episode, things seemed to have calmed down. But Linda, you said you were afraid Steve would yell at you for getting lost.
Linda: I didn't want to disappoint him. I knew that he was so stressed and I didn't want to let him down. I was upset with myself. I knew I had made a fatal error. Also, what people don't realize is — people always say, "Why would you do that? You're so out of shape!" and this and that. But I lost 35 pounds before we started. I learned how to swim. I started climbing ladders to get rid of my fear of heights. I still wasn't where I needed to be, but I was a lot closer to where I needed to be. I really did try to prepare myself for the race.
TVGuide.com: Why did you decide to do the Race?
Steve: We've been fans from Season 1. We just love the thing. It's one of those things where you watch something like this and you say to yourself, "I would never do that." Like Jodi and Christie carrying the stick: "Why would they do that?!" Actually what they did wasn't stupid at all, it's just the way the clue read.
TVGuide.com: Right. The clue doesn't always tell you everything Phil tells us on TV.
Steve: Exactly! It's a clue and you have to interpret that clue. So you sit at home and say, "I can do that." So I said to Linda, "Let's do this. We can do it. We won't make these stupid mistakes." And I found out later that a lot of mistakes are from people who thought they wouldn't make any! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: I thought what you did last episode was so brilliant — when you tied the three cheeses and got all of them down the hill in one trip.
Steve: We were really far behind and that's when reality set in at that moment that this was a competition and if we didn't do something right then, we were gonna be out of it. That's when we really kicked it into gear and started competing. The clue said you must use the carriers, but it didn't say how. So between the two of us — I don't remember who — we came to the conclusion that we should make a sled and I'll carry three and you carry one so we make one trip. If we had to make two trips, we never would have made it. That was desperation thinking. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Who's your favorite to win now?
Linda: The way I feel about it is this: Everybody on the race is fantastic. I mean, they are competitors. They're tough, they're strong, they're smart. You go through so much emotionally, physically. The ones I want to win are the ones that win because they deserve it.
Steve: The ones that work for it. It's not like we have a favorite team or a team we want to lose. It's just whoever wins it deserves it because they didn't get there by making a lot of mistakes. They got to that point by being good and they deserve to win.