Mark and Bill were billed as nerds coming into The Amazing Race 13.  While they may have some geeky qualities, and tend to enjoy the things that nerds tend to enjoy, Mark and Bill were nowhere near the socially inept nerd archetypes that some viewers may have been expecting.  The long-time friends were two of the most approachable and socially able contestants on The Amazing Race, and enjoyed a ton of fan support as a result.  We got the chance to speak with Mark and Bill this morning about their time on the race.

Below you will find both the written transcript and the full mp3 audio of the interview. 

Hey, this is Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV and I’m here with Mark and Bill from The Amazing Race.  Mark, Bill – how are you guys doing?

Mark:  Pretty great, Oscar.

Were both of you guys fans of The Amazing Race before you got on?  How did you end up getting cast on the show?

Mark: Yeah, we’ve been huge fans of the show since season one and we’ve been pretty much applying non-stop since season two.

Had you had any close calls before this last season? 

Mark: No, uh-uh.  This is the season where it where it all really kind of fell together.  It’s kind of funny that this is also the first time where we did our video that we didn’t try to do some cute skit or do something clever.  This is the video where we were just, “Oh, we did it in twenty minutes, just being ourselves and smacking each other in the head and goofing off” and that’s the one they loved.

So, persistence pays off, then?

Mark: And being yourself pays off.

Was the race what you guys expected it to be?  What was the most different from what you expected going in?

Bill: It was everything we expected and the fact that we got to do these incredible things, go to these places we never expected to go.  I think that one of the things that it’s hard to anticipate is just how much lying there is.  And how much you get your sleep schedule thrown off because you’re checking in and then twelve hours later your checking out.  It does really crazy things to you.  The way you feel at the end of the day.

Mark:  It surpassed everything I hoped it to be.  We’re standing on the field getting ready to go and Phil says “All right, get ready – go,” and my heart is racing, I’ve got the butterflies in my stomach and that’s when it really dawns on you.  You’ve been applying for ten years and all of a sudden you’re like “Holy crap, we’re about to go on The Amazing Race.”  We’re going to run up those steps, get in a car and go to the airport.  Oookay.  There’s going to be an exciting soundtrack when it goes on TV.  I was disappointed that the soundtrack wasn’t always on.  It never followed me around, cause I was really counting on it to help me through the race.

With the taxi on that last leg, going to the detour, was the taxi a big time-saver?  Do you think if you guys had walked you would have beaten Kelly and Christy to the finish line? 

Bill: I think that it was pretty much a wash as far as how much actual time it took. I think that being able to just have a guy in the cab with us take us straight to where we needed to go and not have to run up the hill really got us a big lead at that point in time.  However, a lot of the dropping back that we did was just due to the route that our taxi driver chose up the mountain to the wrestling event.  I think that’s what finally put the nail in the coffin for us.  I don’t think it would have been quite half an hour, but it wouldn’t have been much less.

They alluded to it a little bit last night, but dealing with that altitude in La Paz must have been absolutely brutal.

Bill:  It really was.  I’ve visited some places that were around 10,0000 feet in Utah, but when you’re a person from sea level and we had just been at sea level, going to the 12,000 feet of La Paz is really very brutal.

Mark:  Ill tell you that I never in my life appreciated oxygen until La Paz, Bolivia. 

Bill:  I’m in my house now in San Diego, breathing wonderful sea-level oxygen thinking to myself “Ahh, yes.”  It may not be apparent to people watching the show is the way La Paz is laid out.  That part that we were sleeping in in the middle of the street there, that’s the lowest point in La Paz, the bottom of the valley there, that’s where all the rich people live.  The Titanes ring is up on the plateau where all the poor people live and it’s about another 1500 feet, 2,000, 3,000 feet up.

Mark: I remember thinking to myself on our way to the Titanes ring and we’re going up and up and up. I’m looking up this hill saying to myself “You people are sick!”

Out of all the places you got to visit, what was your favorite?

Bill: I actually really did enjoy Bolivia. It was so different than anywhere that I’ve ever been to before.  I mean, I never really imagined that I would go to La Paz and so I was really glad that I got the chance because it was different, the way everything was laid out.  It was almost like this different planet, really.  The people that live in La Paz that are living in such vastly different conditions, both economic conditions and physical conditions. 

Was there anything edited out of the first three episodes that you wish viewers had seen?

Bill: I really wish people could have gotten to see more of Mark in action as the awesome social machine that he is.  Mark can get people to help him out and want to be his friend and do things for him.  There were several occasions where Mark was able to persuade people to do some things for us… they weren’t giant things that were the difference between coming in first or coming in second but they were really helpful to us overall and I wish people could have seen that.

Mark: I would have liked to have seen Bill teach himself Portuguese on the plane ride to Brazil.  We’re on a plane to Brazil, we sit next to this dude, we say “Hi,” he says “Hi,” we started to talk and he doesn’t speak any English, we don’t speak any Portuguese. He’s like “You’re going to Brazil?” and we’re like “Yes.”  He says “OK,” and he reaches and grabs this Portuguese to English phrase book and he hands it to Bill?  “Can we keep this?” and he’s like “Yeah.”  Bill proceeds to spend the next six hours literally nose buried in the book and I’ll tell you this – I know a lot of smart people and Bill’s probably the smartest guy I know, but I’m thinking “Maybe he’ll memorize ‘Where’s the bathroom ?’ and ‘Where can I get a drink of water?”  We land and get in a taxi and he’s like “We’re in a race, we need to go here, please help us move faster,” and I’m like “Damn.”

What do you guys have planned for the future?  Anything big?

Bill:  Mark has been just doing some really awesome stuff.  Mark?

Mark: When we got eliminated from the race I said, “You know, I’m tired of being the fat guy, I’m tired of being the guy who’s always out of shape, I’m tired of the guy who’s always wheezing after a brief run and that changes today.”  At that exact second I made a major shift in how I work out and how I eat to the point where I’ve lost forty pounds from where I started the race.  I did my first 10k and I’ve gotten into competitive biking and I did my first century two weeks ago.  And, I’m currently training to do the Roadmaster K2 in New Zealand next year, widely considered to be one of the most difficult races in the world. 

Congratulations, man.  I appreciate you two taking the time and we wish you luck in the future. 

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)

Oscar Dahl

Senior Writer, BuddyTV