After narrowly avoiding elimination two weeks in a row and only four episodes remaining, Vancouver friends Ryan Steele and Rob Goddard are finally coming into their own as contestants on the reality show Amazing Race Canada.
Although the two were promoted as the “wise-cracking bartenders”, the duo admits as they watch back the edited episodes that have aired so far, that they have been overshadowed by some of the race’s more vocal and flamboyant contestants.
“I guess we just weren’t funny enough,” laughs Goddard. “There are definitely a lot of funny parts that they didn’t use, but I think that is slowly coming out now.”
As a comedian, it isn’t surprising to hear Steele talk about his disappointment in not getting more airtime. “It was a little annoying to watch at first, but with so many teams at the beginning it is hard to stand out. I definitely wouldn’t say we were boring, but when you have teams like Rex and Bob and Cormac and Nicole who left the competition earlier, you can see how the focus would play out,” he says.
What might be surprising for anyone that knows them is that producers have not played the gay card, what with Goddard a former Mr Gay Canada winner and Steele a popular fixture in the gay community with his sketch comedy show.
“I don’t think they will,” says Goddard. ” If you do the research in our online bios and interviews it isn’t hidden, but I don’t think it will be brought up.”
For Steele, he finds it refreshing that it is a non-issue. “I mean, you never hear them talking about Alain being black.”
In the latest episode that aired on August 26 the duo not only found themselves starting at the bottom of the pack in Paris, but even after enduring a U-turn courtesy of siblings Sukhi and Jinder, plus a speed bump for having finished last the week before in a non-elimination leg, they still managed a fifth place finish.
“It was a bit of a surprise at being U-turned,” says Goddard. “But we kept our composure and just kept going. When we got to the Mentos challenge I was just so focused on what I needed to do that I didn’t even notice the drama that was going on. I was in my own little world.”
Goddard’s concentration on the task obviously paid off, allowing them to pull ahead of the Quebec twins, Pierre and Michel, to avoid elimination. As for payback for Sukhi and Jinder’s U-turn, both say that particular battle is definitely not over.
Ironically perhaps it has been the twosome’s difficulties with directions that have turned out to be their biggest challenge, something they predicted as their number one weakness before the race started.
“I’ve been bad with directions my whole life,” admits Steele. “I just don’t pay attention enough. Rob was better than me, but he was driving so it was left to me to navigate.”
“When we got lost in France it kind of sucked,” adds Goddard. “The camera and sound guys couldn’t say anything to us even though we knew they were running out of battery power.”
The second year for the popular summer show, this is the first time teams have found themselves racing outside Canada. Perhaps not surprisingly, of the episodes that have aired so far, it was those filmed in China and France that were the most memorable.
“The moment we jumped on the mat in China and got our first second place finish was pretty great,” says Steele who admits to being a little emotional after watching the episode.
For Goddard it was the trip to France that stands out. “Being on the beach on Normandy and at the cemetery was just so powerful,” he says.
With just four episodes to go before the winners are crowned, Steele and Goddard say they will continue using their strengths to move them forward in the game.
“I handle stress really well,” says Goddard. “Even when Ryan is getting frustrated with things I’m good at being calm.”
For Steele it is all about having discovered what a little adrenaline can do: “I’ve never experienced adrenaline like that before. It is amazing how it just sort of takes over and nothing else matters than the task at hand.”
While fans are no doubt hoping that combination of calm and adrenaline is enough to take them to the end, one can’t help but think Rob and Ryan are hoping there aren’t many more maps.
The Amazing Race Canada airs nationally on CTV. Check your local listings for exact dates and times or visit http://ctv.ca to watch previous episodes and for more information.