In the end, Andie DeKroon and Jenna Sykes couldn’t make up for lost time.
The women were the second team eliminated from “The Amazing Race,” the CBS reality show taking 11 teams in a trek around the globe for $1 million.
DeKroon, a Forsyth County mother of 10, said one bad cab driver after another in the African city of Accra, Ghana, cost them the race.
Cab drivers and car trouble have been recurring problems during show’s previous seasons. With DeKroon and Sykes’ elimination, Season 17 seems to be a continuation of that trend.
“We showed our map to the cab driver, but for some reason he took us way out of the way and circled around, so we ended up last to that first stop,” DeKroon said.
“Jenna did so well at the sunglasses [challenge] that we passed a few teams and got into another cab, which took us completely to the other side of the city from where we needed to be.”
DeKroon said if not for the drivers, she and Sykes could have fared well.
“At least we know that we did not get eliminated because of something we did wrong,” she said. “It was out of our hands.”
DeKroon and Sykes have a unique relationship, one that had not been previously seen on “The Amazing Race.”
More than two decades ago, DeKroon put Sykes up for adoption. Though DeKroon has gone on to have 10 other children, she had never forgotten about Sykes, who is a student at the University of Georgia.
For nearly two years, DeKroon and Sykes had been writing letters back and forth to get to know each other. They had met in person just a couple times prior the reality show.
DeKroon said they were both disappointed with their early departure, but the experience brought them closer.
“We definitely wanted to continue the race and hated to be out so soon,” she said. “Although it was disappointing, we’ve tried to keep in mind how awesome it was just to be chosen to be on the show and to race as long as we did.
“I thought we were very compatible, both handled stress very well. We stay calm and focus on getting through the tasks instead of wasting energy becoming hysterical or yelling at each other.”
DeKroon said it took them a day or so to get used to communicating effectively, since they didn’t know each other as well as the other teams.
The race began in Gloucester, Mass., the United States’ oldest seaport. Teams raced to England and then Ghana, where DeKroon and Sykes were the last to finish.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” DeKroon said. “I had been to England before, but I had never slept in a castle and had all these adventures there.
“Ghana was very sobering. It was overwhelmingly sad because of the poverty, but the people were really beautiful and kind. I hope to go back one day and spend more time with the people.”
She added the race experience strengthened the women’s bond.
“Jenna and I will always be friends. I’m still amazed after wondering about her all these years to realize I can just send her a text or an e-mail and say ‘hi’ any time I want.”
The Amazing Race continues at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS, where nine teams still are vying for the $1 million prize.