Our hosts wondered aloud if there were demons in this race. Perhaps not. But there were quite a few near-death experiences to help drive a few competitors to some very strong showing. Yet one girl from the Wall Street Warriors said, “You have to sacrifice everything for one another to win.” Personal sacrifice may make you a lot of money in the Manhattan Financial District, but teamwork makes you a winner on SUTC, demons or not.
The first race teams included the American Dream Team. Led by Isaiah Vidal, an experienced elite Spartan, they were a heavy favorite having made it to the semi-finals last year. The red team, Saddle Up, had absolutely no Spartan experience. This team is made up of professional rodeo ropers and bronc busters. So there’s no question that they are tough. But are they together? The last team, the Wall Street Warriors, believes that “If you work really hard, you’ll get to where you want to go.” Would that gung ho individualism translate into equally strong teamwork?
Apparently not. They came in last. They did finish and good for them. I expected a DNF. The real surprise win came from Saddle Up. The American Dream Team slipped at Table Tilt allowing Saddle Up to take first. They pulled away and never looked back. They did have one major collapse at the Slip Wall. But they were so far ahead that it did not matter. Team WSW never got in sync and the brokers just ended up broke.
Would the American Dream Team second place be strong enough to win the wild card?
That was determined by the next race.
The yellow team, Family First, was surely a strong family. But up against the green Ninja team, all ANW veterans, and the magenta Stunt Junkies team, all veteran movie stunt performers, I expected Family First to be the weakest link.
Yet all three teams were neck-and-neck through the first obstacle, the Barrel Roll. Then the Ninjas pulled away. Even though all three teams were on the Tire Swing at the same time, the Ninja athleticism clearly gave them the advantage and lack of fear needed to make this tough leap of faith.
After that, team Ninja owned the course. Again, the last two teams battled it out for the wild card spot. The Stunt Junkies hustled and beat the clock by two seconds. That knocked the American Dream Team out, giving the movie stars the wild card.
Compared to last week’s teams, I have to give the edge to this week’s winners. I was completely impressed by Saddle Up and expect to see them go far. Perhaps not all the way though. I suspect that they will get tripped up by a technical obstacle later on. Chalk it up to experience. Not sure I can say that for the Ninjas though. They are used to curveballs and change-ups in the obstacles. And the Stunt Junkies certainly know to expect the unexpected. So I see all three of these teams going long.