When The Amazing Race started back in July, who would've guessed that a pair of fortysomething bowling moms from California would make it past the third leg, let alone end up finishing in fourth place? With their boundless energy and enthusiasm, Linda and Karen proved that age ain't nothin' but a number. Here, these peppy ladies tell TV Guide Online all about their excellent adventure.
TV Guide Online: How's it feel to be TAR's first all-female team to reach the top four?
Karen: I was surprised at how far we made it. Linda wasn't — she knew that we could do it all along.
Linda: At every pit stop, we would look at each other and go, "Oh my gosh, we made another round!" And it just kept going.
TVGO: When did you feel your fortunes change on the last leg?
Karen: When we left the pit stop, we were in second place, but we had to run around the corner and up the street to get a taxi. Meanwhile, Brandon and Nicole walked out and got a taxi right away — it put them on the first charter flight, and that was the key. I really think if we could have gotten on that first charter flight, we would have been running for the $1 million. If I went head-to-head against Chip in the wall climb, I think I might have beat him. I really do. But that challenge was a lot more difficult than it looked.
Linda: Even Colin was totally wiped. When he came down he was like, "My arms are like spaghetti." And this is Colin, who is buff and in shape! I knew that if she could get to the top before Colin got there, we'd be okay. But Colin got up there like a monkey.
TVGO: Did those intensely physical challenges on the last two legs give the youngsters the advantage?
Karen: I don't even think it's a matter of the younger contestants. I think if you had a male on your team, you definitely had a little bit of an advantage. The guys did nine out of the 10 roadblocks.
Linda: After all of the women did the caviar roadblock, the men said, "My gosh, we almost lost this race because we let the girl do one damn roadblock." And then they never did another one.
Karen: Whereas we didn't have a choice. I really don't think it was the age, because Linda and I did it! We're two over-40 women and we did every single task. There wasn't anything that we couldn't do. So I don't think it's the age, I think a lot of it is having a man [on your team].
TVGO: Settle this once and for all: Did you lie to Jim and Marsha about having to change money in Buenos Aires?
Linda: Definitely not. When we were on that ferry, everyone was trying to find directions to Evita Peron's grave, and my question to one of the locals was, "Will they take U.S. dollars?" Because Linda and I had never really traveled. It was one of the early legs and I just wasn't sure. So that was my question. And we already had Argentine pesos, so we were passing this information along to some of the other racers and they overheard us. We liked Jim and Marsha — we never would have lied to them. When we saw that on the show, Linda said, "Karen, did you lie to Jim and Marsha?" And I said, "No! Linda, did you lie to them?"
TVGO: You were the first team to have your cash taken away as a penalty for coming in last on a non-elimination leg. Was that hard?
Karen: For me, it was really difficult. Linda had a hard time holding me up, because I was really down and ready to go home.
Linda: I told her that I could make money anywhere. I knew it! I said, "You don't even have to do anything. I'll get us the money." Because I knew she was very upset about that. Once we thought of the tourists, we had it made.
Karen: [Here's] something that wasn't on the show: Before we got to the pit stop, we found two tour buses parked out front and one of them was filled with Americans. That's where we got most of our money.
Linda: I think it was a good addition to the show, I really do. I think it adds a little more drama. It's pretty easy to do and they made it where you were eliminated in countries where there were tourists. You weren't in the middle of Tanzania, where you'd have to beg from people that don't have any money.
TVGO: Why didn't you use the Yield on anyone?
Linda: We've got a story about that. At every pit stop, you have to turn in everything in your bag, all your trash and that sort of thing. So at either the first or second pit stop, we turned in our trash, and our Yield marker was in it by accident. So we didn't have a Yield for the rest of the race! Nobody knew this! When I realized it, I called the production staff and they said they'd replace it, but in the rules, it says you can't get a replacement. If they told me that, I would have gone and looked through the trash, because we definitely would have used it.
TVGO: Unlike some teams, you didn't make any enemies during the race.
Karen: One of the things we tried to do is help another team out in the hopes that, if you're in trouble, they will come and help you out. And you know what? Even Colin helped us out a couple times.
Linda: He did. They didn't show a lot of it on camera, but he really did.
Karen: When we blew the oil pump and the twins drove right by us, Colin stopped. And there was another incident where we took a water taxi. We didn't have the proper currency, and Colin and Christie paid for our fee. So there were times where they were nice. And they didn't really come after us.
TVGO: Anything you'd do differently if you ran the race over again?
Karen: Lose some weight and get in better shape, so I could get up that wall! [Laughs]
Linda: You did get up the wall! What are you talking about? I think we did a good job. I think maybe [I'd do] better preparation for [buying] airline tickets. That was our biggest weakness, [not knowing] how to handle ourselves in the airport. Colin would get these fantastic flights and I still don't know how he did it.