Leg 21.03 – “I can’t save you if you fall through the ice.”
During the Pit Stop, teams will be magically transported to the city of Busan where they will begin the third Leg of the Race. And the first clue of this Leg informs teams they will be flying to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia!
Teams will end up on one of two flights from Gimhae International Airport to Ulaanbaatar. The first arriving at 2pm and the second arriving at 4:10pm.
Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, teams must make their way to Naran Tuul Market.
Here, using a provided list, teams must purchase winter clothing for their stay in Mongolia.
Teams must now make their way to the Gobi Cashmere Factory where they will take part in several steps of the manufacturing process of authentic Gobi cashmere wool.
Afterwards, teams must purchase tickets for a morning bus to the town of Mörön/Murun.
Arriving in Murun after a full day on the road, teams will choose a jeep and a driver whom they must direct to find a local nomadic herder family with whom they will spend the night.
But before that, teams will encounter an Intersection! For this Intersection, teams must help set-up their winter-proof ger for the night. Teams will depart in the morning, two at a time, every five minutes based on the time it takes them to properly set-up the ger.
In the morning, teams will enjoy a warm breakfast which they will help prepare with their new friends before departing.
On this second morning in Mongolia, teams must now make their way to Lake Khovsgol where they will get to participate in traditional winter festival activities. Teams will travel across the frozen lake on horse-drawn sleds.
First, teams will play an anklebone shooting game. They will use a disc to hit anklebones to score points. Once teams score enough points, they will receive the next clue.
That clue reveals the Road Block: Who can get things started?
For this Road Block, teams must learn a traditional Mongolian chant from an elder. When teams can perform the chant to the elder’s approval and allow them to signal the start of a wrestling match, they will receive the next clue.
That clue reveals the Detour: Fire or Ice.
In Fire, teams will collect wood and prepare the pile for burning during a shaman ritual later that evening. When done, they will participate in one such ritual before being given the next clue.
In Ice, teams must complete an ice sculpture according to the specifications of the artist.
This is also the Trigger Point for this Leg of the Race. If an equal number of teams perform each side of the Detour, the U-Turn or Yield will be activated on the next Leg.
Now teams will encounter another Road Block! Who’s got a good eye for aimags? There is no restriction as to who can perform this Road Block.
At the winter festival, visitors dress in colorful, traditional costumes that represent Mongolia’s 21 different regions or aimags. Each costume is distinct. For this Road Block, teams will need to speak with 10 of the people to learn which aimag they are representing. Then when they believe they’ve memorized ten, they will be tested using a series of 21 images, from which they must identify and match 10 aimags to the traditional dress in order to receive the next clue.
Teams will now take an immediate, departure on demand charter flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival, teams can head to the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, the Pit Stop for this Leg of the Race.
The first team to check-in here will win P200,000 courtesy of Shell V-Power Nitro+.
The last team to check-in… WILL NOT be eliminated! This is the first Non-Elimination Leg of the Race. And this last place team must now choose a Penalty Envelope. For the first time, there will be FIVE envelopes for teams to choose from with brand new options.
In addition to the Speed Bump and Automatic U-Turn, the new options include the Self Yield (the single Non-Elimination penalty for seasons 19 and 20) and Self Rewind. For the Self Rewind, teams must choose which Active Route Info, Detour or Road Block task they must complete a second time.
AND! A brand new 5th envelope containing “Racers’ Choice” in which teams can choose which of the four penalties they would like to be subjected to in the next Leg.
This is a very interesting Leg! I’ve been wanting to return to Mongolia on TARPHDME for a while. (Last visit was season 2!) But obviously, Google scouting isn’t going to make it an easy task to fit into the route. For this season, it kind of worked out well after reading about the winter festival. So I decided to have most of the Leg focused on that.
Partly because I wanted an icy, wintery Leg. And also because I’ve had the Genghis Khan Statue Complex on a Pit Stop shortlist for years.
Anyway, let’s start in the beginning. After shuttling teams to Busan, the two days of basically travel-only start with the flights to Ulaanbaatar. Arriving in the evening, there’s obviously not much teams can do. So shopping for clothes for the Leg and typical factory-type tasks at the Gobi cashmere factory are easy tasks to fill this part of the Leg.
Teams sleep outside until the bus departs in the morning. And then it’s a whole day bus ride to Murun. Arriving in the evening, we need to find another task they can do to fill the time. So of course, building a ger is an easy task to have here.
For this, we could possibly add the extra “Fastest team to successfully build the ger will win an Express Pass” or something like that. But it’s okay. The Intersection element was added in last minute as it made sense with the departure times. Plus, it takes more than two people to really assemble a ger.
I think the best aspect of this task is teams getting to know the local families and spending time with them before the real competition actually starts in the morning.
And the competition really begins as soon as teams arrive at Lake Khovsgol. There’s a lot of things teams could do at the winter festival. And I’ve got essentially five tasks here which is really more than a modern TARUS Leg would have, to be honest lol
First is the anklebones which shouldn’t be something that favors any team over the other. So it is a good way to separate teams a bit at the start.
The Road Block is very similar to a TARAu4 task in Mongolia, but I first saw the chant in this video and felt it would be a great spot for it here.
We continue on with the Detour which I hope is a balanced one. Curling isn’t an easy sport for people who might not have ever heard of it even. (Which is likely for Filipino teams.) So that will hopefully be as challenging and time consuming as the other side of the Detour which we would like to be both physically challenging and an interesting cultural task.
This is where a U-Turn would’ve been. But we kind of don’t want one here as we’re tight on time with the charter flights back to Ulaanbaatar. So that’s why the Trigger Point in the last Leg needs to be something that can’t be fulfilled lol
The last Road Block is a good memorization task with more cultural and local aspects and will be the final task that will essentially decide the Leg.
Of course, this is a perfect Non-Elimination Leg to have. And this season, we re-introduce the Non-Elimination Penalty Envelopes. I decided to try and make each penalty option a little more equal while adding the ~successful~ Self Yield that was introduced in Season 19.
With an Automatic U-Turn, Self Rewind and Speed Bump, a penalized team will essentially need to complete an extra task. Albeit, in different ways. And the Self Yield should have a similar length of time as what it would take to complete those extra tasks.
I feel like these four options are more equal in severity than the original options of Marked for Elimination and Automatic Yield. With the Self Yield and the new “Racers’ Choice” option added in as well, the Non-Elimination Penalty has a chance to be a strategic decision as well. Where in the Leg will teams Yield themselves? Which penalty do they think will be the easiest for them to overcome?
There’s opportunity for some nice gameplay there that does not involve alliance scheming! lol
Overall, this can be a really nice Leg. More of a showcase Leg, but still very competitive. And the new Non-Elimination Penalty should add to that competitive aspect.