BRANDON & ADAM ON TOP IN ARCTIC
Teams raced into the Arctic Circle to Svolvaer, Norway where Brandon & Adam led the pack and Nicole made a play for Marie's Express Pass.
OFF TO THE ARCTIC
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 11:08pm, married ER doctors Nicole & Travis ripped open their clue, sending them over 2,000 miles by plane and ferry into the Arctic Circle. Once in Svolvaer, Norway, teams would find their next clue at the ferry terminal. Arriving at the travel agency, Nicole & Travis joined forces with their new allies and friends, dating couple Jason & Amy, to fully interrogate the agent who informed the teams they just missed the last flight of the day at 10:00pm. The next flight wouldn't leave until 8:55am, meaning the remaining six teams would join them. At the airport, NHL ice crew member Ally noted, "For the first time we're all flying together."
NORTH TO NORWAY
Just north of the Arctic Circle amid colorful cottages, pristine waters, and beautiful forested hills, the teams landed in Bodo, Norway and boarded a ferry to Svolvaer. Settling in for the three-hour excursion, Marie once again insisted she and Tim would not hand over the second Express Pass until she absolutely had to at the end of the fifth leg. While the field remained open on who would get the pass, she ruled out the Afghanimals for being "jerks" and Ally & Ashley who "might as well be in the Afghanimals' backpacks." With the ferry reaching cruising speeds through one of windiest parts of Norway, teams enjoyed the picturesque views on the deck as they reenacted their favorite scenes from Titanic. At the front of the ship, Leo pointed out to the water and shouted, "Iceberg ahead!" Baseball wife Kim stretched out her arms and uttered, "I'm king of the world!" Meanwhile Brandon & Adam, Marie, and Leo all leaned forward at incredible angles on the deck as the strong gusts kept them standing up.
Reaching the small fishing town of Svolvaer, nestled between mountains and sea, the teams ran off of the ferry at 11:05pm in what appeared to still be midafternoon in the land of the midnight sun. At the end of the dock, teams ripped open their clues to find a Detour having the choice of Hang Your Heads or Hammer of the Cods. Hang Your Heads required teams to string together six bundles comprised of ten fish heads each. Then, they had to transport them by wheelbarrow to enormous drying racks and lay them out in the Arctic sun. Hammer of the Cods required teams to collect fifteen pairs of cod from 30-foot high drying racks and then pound them with a giant wooden hammer to make one kilo of fish jerky without the bones. After the eight teams made their decision (all chose Hang Your Heads except for Nicky & Kim and Tim & Danny), they wandered around the small (and desolate) downtown at 11:00pm, scrambling to find any taxis to take them to the fish factory two kilometers away. While exes Tim & Marie darted away from the pack to snag the first taxi, most teams stood in the street waiting for a local man to call cabs for them. An incredulous Amy said, "We're in the Arctic Circle at 11:00pm. Of course there aren't going to any cabs anywhere." However, childhood friends (and former boy scouts) Brandon & Adam took matters into their own hands and simply jogged the distance to get a jump on teams that waited. Although, baseball wives Nicky & Kim fared the worst in their strategy by first waiting for a taxi and then finally running, putting them in last place.
HANG YOUR HEADS
Pulling up to the factory in first place, Tim & Marie donned the official fish worker's uniform of bright orange wader, boots, and heavy rubber gloves before running into the warehouse where hundreds of cod heads chilled on a long metal table. Choosing a work station, the exes began impaling the heads onto a metal spike that had a string attached. However, the exes didn't fully read their clue and only put eight heads on each bundle instead of the required ten. Not thrilled with the pungent odor emanating from the cod, Marie looked on the bright side, saying, "I'm just happy I'm not eating the fish right now. I can deal with the smell." Once the exes put only eight heads (to be dried and used for fish head soup) onto the spike, Tim knotted the end of the string and pulled the collection of heads off the spike. With the arrival of Brandon & Adam, Jason & Amy, Nicole & Travis, Leo & Jamal, and Ally & Ashley, the buzz of activity grew in the warehouse as teams put aside their disgust to master the task at hand. Jason & Amy offered help to Express Pass holders Tim & Marie by pointing out they needed ten fish on a string instead of eight. The dating couple also gave that advice to their allies Nicole & Travis. While outdoorsmen Brandon & Adam had no issues impaling fish heads, Leo & Jamal later confessed, "[We] don't really fish. The closest thing I get to the water is a shower." Their inexperience almost led to Jamal getting impaled on his head when he and Leo attempted to move their spike. Meanwhile, Ashley freaked out when she grabbed a small fish head from the pile and made Ally get a bigger one for her, later saying, "Stabbing the baby heads was really depressing."
HAMMER OF THE CODS
As six teams continued to impale and string fish heads, Oklahoman best friends Tim & Danny ran past the warehouse and down a winding road that led them to massive drying racks over 20 feet tall and spanning the length of a football field, fully covered in fish dried from the sun. Being an oil field worker, Danny had no problems putting on a hardhat and gloves and climbing up the rungs of the wooden drying racks to begin the process of collecting fifteen dried fish. Each trip Danny took up the rack, he returned one or two pairs of dried cod that he handed over to Tim. Standing patiently on the ground, Tim had to figure out how to hold the growing number of fish and settled on placing them around his neck. Starting to squirm and shuffle around, Tim said, "The longer it sits the heavier it gets." Also now using his forearms as a hanger, Tim had fourteen pairs draped on his body by the time baseball wives Nicky & Kim arrived at the racks.
EXPRESS PASS LEVERAGE
Just as Tim & Danny began their slow walk from the racks to the warehouse with the cumbersome dried fish around Tim's neck, exes Tim & Marie reached the racks with their wheelbarrow full of stringed fish heads, followed closely by Jason & Amy and Brandon & Adam. Failing to notice the red and yellow Race flags attached to the end of specific poles on the rack, Tim & Marie began hanging each of their six strings of fish heads on an unmarked pole. After completing all six, the exes called over the judge who rejected their work. Having no idea what they did wrong, the exes watched as Jason & Amy received their clue after the dating couple properly used the marked poles. As Jason & Amy ran off to take a high speed boat ride to the fishing village of Henningsvaer, Tim & Marie starting taking strings off their pole thinking they tied the knots wrong. When Brandon & Adam also got their clue, Marie asked them what she and Tim did wrong, trying to leverage the Express Pass for an answer. Not wanting to waste the time to help Marie, Brandon ran off with Adam shouting, "I don't need your damn Express Pass!" A bewildered Marie said aloud, "Why is this happening to me? I'm nice to everyone." Finally, watching Nicole & Travis arrive and begin hanging strings on a marked pole, Marie noticed her and Tim's mistake that led them to finish in fourth place right behind the married ER doctors.
Later chastising themselves for not paying closer attention, cousins Leo & Jamal chose a wheelbarrow with a flat tire for their long journey to the racks. Needing the strength of both cousins to push the wheelbarrow with no help from the tire, a winded Jamal said, "This is tough. My body is exhausted." At one point Jamal asked Leo to stop for a minute because his back hurt, groaning, "This is my worst nightmare." The cousins even tried lifting the wheelbarrow and carrying it, but that lasted for only a few feet. Eventually Leo & Jamal reached the racks and strung up their fish heads in sixth place, just behind their friends Ally & Ashley. Already starting the Detour in last place, baseball wives Nicky & Kim fell even further behind. As Kim climbed the massive drying racks to retrieve dried cod, Nicky stood below, cheering her partner on and trying to cope with the heavy, brittle fish she wore around her neck and arms along with the mosquitos that feasted upon her exposed skin. After Kim collected the required fifteen fish, she and Nicky divided the cod between them and began the slow walk to the warehouse. At one point, Nicky (who cared the lion's share of cod) asked Kim (who also carried both of the team's backpacks) to take a few extra to help her out. As the still optimistic duo neared the warehouse, Kim told Nicky that her arms looked so strong and called her "the cod queen."
At the warehouse that stored fully dried cod, Oklahomans Tim & Danny delivered their fifteen fish pairs that Tim hauled nearly by himself, while Danny carried their backpacks. Walking over to the pounding station, Danny picked up a mallet and began hitting a dried cod that rested on a stump, while Tim rested his weary, cut up arms. After loosening the meat from the skin and bones, the best friends peeled away the fish jerky and slowly collected enough to reach the one kilogram needed. Just as Tim & Danny were on the verge of finishing in seventh place, Nicky & Kim finally arrived at the warehouse, where Kim admitted she took out her aggression when she had an opportunity to pound cod with the mallet. Going above and beyond to make 1.16 kilograms of fish jerky, Nicky & Kim called the task the hardest thing they had ever done.
TAKING THE PLUNGE
Arriving at the Lofoten Explorer shop in a first place tie, Brandon & Adam and Jason & Amy suited up in protective gear and goggles before walking down to the dock and onto a pair of RIB boats. Once the engines roared to life, the two teams cheered and marveled at the incredible scenery surrounding them. With his beard flapping in the wind, Brandon said, "Norway rules." Riding past a small island that held a lighthouse, Amy said, "I never in a million years thought that we would be in the Arctic Circle." Reaching the shores of Henningsvaer, Brandon & Adam and Jason & Amy ran along the harbor and found their next clue, a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to take a leap off the Henningsvaer Bridge and swing on the end of an 80-foot rope. When they were ready, they had to unclip and splash down into the frigid Arctic Ocean, where they could swim to their next clue.
As Brandon (clad in a full wetsuit) ran up the massive bridge that spanned the islands of Lofoten together, Adam rode in the high speed boat around the harbor to just below the bridge and cheered on his friend. Without any hesitation (credited to jumping off bridges as a kid), Brandon put on the harness that had the rope attached and confidently stepped off the wood plank. While Brandon wasn't particularly vocal as he swung from the rope over the water, Adam let out plenty of shouts for both of them. Spotting the red and yellow buoy in the water, Brandon pulled the release and splashed into the Arctic Ocean below. After a brisk swim to the buoy, Brandon grabbed a clue and then swam to Adam, still cheering him on from the boat. Ripping open their clue, the childhood friends had to make their way back to shore, choose a tough Ford Ranger, and use it to conquer their next challenge. Hooking up their truck to a sled loaded with a giant granite boulder, they had to pull it far enough to reveal their next clue and a satchel of Viking coins they would need later in the Race. With Tim (of Tim & Marie) and Nicole close behind, Jason took his leap off the bridge while Amy cheered below. However, Jason soon realized he had a problem as he kept swinging, but couldn't reach the release to let him drop to the water. When he jumped, all of the knots in the rope tightened up when it caught him and made the release ball out of reach. Finally, Jason had to reach up and grasp the ball, sending him into the ocean below to retrieve the clue.
GETTING INTO GEAR
Returning to shore, Brandon & Adam put on reflective safety vests and helmets, chose a Ford Ranger, and backed it up to a giant granite boulder. With a background in construction, the childhood friends had no issues figuring out how to hitch the chains around the boulder to the truck. Once the rock was secured, Brandon joked, "Just another thing to add to our resume." Getting back in the truck, Brandon & Adam drove forward, moving the boulder across the field with ease. Walking over to where the boulder previously rested, the best friends sifted through a pile of small rocks and uncovered the satchel of Viking Coins and a piece of paper with the name of the Pit Stop, Viking Longhouse. With Jason & Amy, Tim & Marie, Nicole & Travis, and Leo & Jamal all moving their boulders, NHL Ice Crew members Ally & Ashley ran up to their Ford Ranger and knew they would have a serious problem. Neither one knew how to drive stick shift very well. Ashley needed to drive the truck over to the field of boulders, but she had to back up first, and nearly sent her and Ally into a ditch. Starting to get panicked, Ashley threw up her hands and said, "I don't know what I'm doing." Ally volunteered to take over the wheel and at least avoided the ditch. However, when she drove the truck forward, she almost sent it into the ditch on the other side of the road. Now, with Ally & Ashley's truck fully blocking the road, Oklahomans Tim & Danny arrived on the scene and gave the NHL ice crew members a crash course in stick shift. The more skilled Tim & Danny found their satchel and clue in sixth place, ahead of Ally & Ashley who still had a lead on last place Nicky & Kim. After watching Nicky jump off the bridge, a wistful Kim said, "I don't want to stop seeing the world."
THE RACE CONTINUES...
At almost 3:00am and still light as day, Brandon & Adam ran into the Viking Long House and onto the mat in first place. When Phil told the childhood friends they won $5,000 each, they celebrated knowing how much this meant. Brandon could finish the house he had been working on for the past year. For Adam, with his simple lifestyle in the woods, he could live off of $5,000 for an entire year. Then, Phil gave the pair more news. He handed over a clue and told them they were still racing. An excited Brandon said, "That's what we want to do. We want to keep racing." Somewhere on the desolate but picturesque road between the Henningsvaer Bridge and the Viking Long House, exes Tim & Marie drove without a clue...literally. The bickering pair grabbed the satchel of coins but failed to see the paper with the Pit Stop name next to it. Now, simply hoping they were driving in the right direction, Tim & Marie encountered Nicole & Travis on the road. Immediately seeing the confusion and frustration on Tim & Marie's faces, the Brooklyn born and raised Nicole sensed an incredible opportunity and seized on it. When the exes asked how to get to the Pit Stop, Nicole replied, "I want the Express Pass." Letting the Express Pass slip away in the first leg because of a mistake, Nicole wanted to make up for it. Unsurprisingly Marie hesitated and didn't want to relinquish control of her precious commodity. Nicole spelled it out one more time, "Do you want it or not?" When Marie still didn't answer, Nicole played hardball and announced, "Okay we're leaving. Goodbye."
TO BE CONTINUED
2304 ROUTE MARKERS
Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one person can perform. In this Roadblock, that team member had to take a leap off the Henningsvaer Bridge and swing on the end of an 80-foot rope. When they were ready, they had to unclip and splash down into the frigid Arctic Ocean where they could swim to their next clue. Performed Roadblock: Brandon, Jason, Tim, Nicole, Ashley, Jamal, Tim, Nicky Detour: A Detour is a choice between two tasks. In this Detour, teams had the choice of Hang Your Heads or Hammer of the Cods. Hang Your Heads required teams to string together six bundles comprised of ten fish heads each. Then, they had to transport them by wheelbarrow to enormous drying racks and lay them out in the Arctic sun. Hammer of the Cods required teams to collect fifteen pairs of cod from 30-foot high drying racks and then pound them with a giant wooden hammer to make one kilo of fish jerky without the bones. Hang Your Heads: Jason/Amy, Tim/Marie, Brandon/Adam, Nicole/Travis, Leo/ Jamal, Ally/Ashley Hammer of the Cods: Nicky/Kim, Tim/Danny Order of Finish: 1. Brandon & Adam (Virtual Pit Stop, to be continued) ...