TWICE AS NICE FOR NAT & KAT
Doctors Nat & Kat won their second leg in a row after choking down a stomach turning Fast Forward in Narvik, Norway. Meanwhile, Claire endured a grueling Roadblock while beach volleyball partners Katie & Rachel became the fourth team eliminated from the race.
DON'T LOOK DOWN
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 6:00am, doctors Nat & Kat opened their clue instructing them to drive across the border into Norway, find the city of Narvik, and search for a gondola station. Once there, teams had to ride in a gondola to the top of the mountain to find their next clue.
With home shopping hosts Brook & Claire and father and daughter Gary & Mallory close behind, doctors Nat & Kat arrived at the gondola station in first place. As the doctors waited for a gondola to take them all the way to the top of the imposing mountain, Nat, who has an extreme fear of heights, started becoming concerned. Once inside the gondola slowing creeping up towards the mountaintop, Nat's fear and dread intensified as Kat tried to calm her partner down. When tears began to roll down Nat's cheeks, a soothing Kat said, "Don't psych yourself out."
MEAT ME IN NARVIK
At the mountaintop, the doctors walked out of the gondola car to witness a spectacular view of Narvik. Nat's crippling fear quickly evaporated once she and Kat opened their clue to find the first Fast Forward of the race. In it, teams had to travel to a nearby restaurant where they would participate in a traditional Norwegian Christmas ritual. What teams didn't know was that it included eating an entire roasted sheep's head. When each team member ate half the head, they would receive the Fast Forward award allowing them to skip all tasks and proceed to the Pit Stop.
As the teams behind Nat & Kat proceeded from the gondola station to the Skjombrua Bridge, the doctors began to speculate on the Norwegian Christmas ritual that would be waiting for them. When Nat suggested this might be an eating challenge, Kat, a practicing vegetarian for 22 years, replied, "Dear God, I hope not." When the pair arrived at the restaurant, they noticed the candlelit ambiance, the soothing violin music, and the place settings at the table and put the pieces together to realize this would be an eating challenge. Nat later joked, "We know enough about the race that when there's a little glass of water on the table that is a bad sign." Sitting down, Kat simply said, "Let's see what it is."
With Nat & Kat waiting in uneasy anticipation, a traditional Nordic waiter walked out of the kitchen and set down a steaming plate holding a freshly roasted sheep's head. Concerned for her vegetarian partner, Nat asked Kat, "Can you do it?" Kat replied, "I haven't eaten meat in 22 years s this is a big one for me." The doctors quickly got to work on the head by first peeling the skin and meat off of the skull and cutting it up into small pieces to make their meal as unrecognizable as possible. Nat joked, "We can always get sick later." Just before Kat put the first piece of meat in her mouth, she said to Nat, "Tastes like money." Using water to help, Kat made a face of disgust as she swallowed the piece and coughed afterwards before digging in again. Kat later commented, "The skin was really thick and kind of slimy. For me, it was just very strong flavors that I am not used to."
DOWN AND UP
While Nat & Kat continued eating, father and daughter Gary & Mallory and father and son Michael & Kevin arrived at the Skjombrua Bridge to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to step off the deck on the bridge and rappel to the water below. When they were at the end of their rope, teams had to signal for a boat to bring them their clue. Once rigged to return, teams had to use a mechanical ascender to haul themselves 130-feet back to the top of the bridge.
As Kevin and Gary geared up for the rappel and ascent, home shopping hosts Brook & Claire arrived at the bridge and read the Roadblock hint, "Strength, stamina, guts. You better have all three." Brook insisted that Claire possessed all these qualities, telling her partner, "You got this honey. Next time, anything it's me."
Walking to the center of the bridge, Gary and Kevin got attached to the rigging as Mallory and Michael cheered their partners on. Gary wisely noted, "Going down is the easy part. It's a long climb back up." Kevin said, "The view is crazy. I don't know why I'm looking down. It's just making me more nervous." Taking the big, final step off the side of the bridge, Kevin and Gary both started their descent towards the water, slowly at first, then picking up speed. At the bottom, as they waited for the boat to come with their clue, the pair joked about how the rope already hurt certain parts of their anatomy.
As Kevin and Gary began the ascent up the bridge with their clue attached, Claire enjoyed her rappel down to the water. However, as soon as she began her ascent, she knew she had a tough task ahead of her. Slowly inching up the rope with Thomas now poised to overtake her, Claire shouted in agony with each move upward. Brook told her exhausted partner, "I know you're tired, but you have to fight through it." Not wanting the encouragement, Claire snapped back, "Just shut up!"
FAST FORWARD TAKEN
With the plate of meat slowly disappearing and sheep's skull completely stripped, Nat & Kat needed inspiration to complete their stomach churning meal. With each bite, the doctors pretended they were eating something else, saying, "Crunchy romaine lettuce, calamari, cucumbers." On their final bite, Nat & Kat toasted each other and swallowed what remained between them and their next clue. After the Nordic waiter approved, he handed the doctors their clue instructing them to find the Pit Stop at Ankenes Marina.
As the doctors headed to the Marina, tattooed dating couple Nick & Vicki arrived at the rustic restaurant hoping to win the Fast Forward. Walking up to the door, the couple noticed the sign "Fast Forward Taken", but didn't know what that meant. Vicki asked, "Does that mean somebody's in there? It's taken so I don't know what that means. Do we have to wait?" After a few more unsuccessful attempts at deciphering the apparently cryptic sign, Nick & Vicki returned to their car and drove to the Skjombrua Bridge.
Arriving at Ankenes Marina, doctors Nat & Kat jumped onto the mat to claim their second victory in a row along with a trip for two from Travelocity to Costa Rica. Vegetarian Kat remarked, "Neither one of us are quitters. We're doing something right and we just want to keep on doing what we're doing."
DOING WHAT IT TAKES
With Michael & Kevin, Gary & Mallory, and Thomas & Jill all heading to their next clue in the region of Harvika, Claire dangled alone under the bridge trying to muster the physical and emotional strength to continue. As she began to cry, Claire shouted to Brook, "My arms are going to fall off!" With the situation looking dire, Brook suggested that Claire pray to her recently deceased grandmother to find the strength she needed. Having met Claire's grandmother, Brook said, "You think Claire and I have spice? This one beats us all, so I think if she can find the inner strength of her grandma, she can do this." As Claire continued pulling herself up, she said, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life." Using every bit of energy she had inside of her, Claire eventually reached the top of the bridge as Brook offered her support, impressed at Claire's achievement.
BIKE AND BOAT
As Vicki and Chad began their rappel with beach volleyball players Katie & Rachel still in last place, Michael & Kevin, Jill & Thomas, and Gary & Mallory all arrived at the cluebox in a middle of a field in Harvika to find a Detour having to choose between Bike and Boats. In Bike, teams had to choose a pair of mountain bikes taking note of the color of their bicycle lock. Then, they had to ride a grueling course to a flag where they had to memorize the combination color coded to match their bicycle lock. Next, teams rode back to the starting line and used the combination to open their lock to retrieve the next clue. In Boats, teams made their way to a nearby fishing trawler. Using a map for reference, they had to direct the captain to a spot onshore where they would disembark and deliver on foot two large cod and a chainsaw to a summer lodge.
With Kevin citing his dad as the reason he and Michael chose the less physically demanding boat delivery, Gary & Mallory and Jill & Thomas all jumped on mountain bikes to tackle the demanding course rife with potential pitfalls. As the grade of incline increased and the road changed from pavement to slick rock, Gary & Mallory each took a tumble off their bikes, but neither were hurt. The father and daughter decided to walk their bikes up the hill rather than risk falling again as the athletic Jill & Thomas reached the flag and memorized the four-digit combination. Returning to the start line, the dating couple, who fell all the way to last place in the previous leg, now vaulted up to second place as they unlocked their clue instructing them to drive to the Pit Stop at Ankenes Harbor.
GLIMPSE OF HOPE
On the way to the harbor, Jill & Thomas became flustered when a wrong turn brought them back to the Skjombrua Bridge where Katie just finished her ascent. Thrilled to see another team, Katie said to her partner, "Comeback kids, Rach." With Kevin & Michael following behind the bewilderingly lost Jill & Thomas, father and daughter Gary & Mallory arrived at Ankenes Marina to take second place yet again. After getting directions, a disappointed Thomas said, "It's just frustrating. You work so hard…then you just lose so much time." Jill & Thomas still managed to claim third place while father and son Michael & Kevin took fourth.
As Brook & Claire snagged fifth place a little worse for the wear after Brook cut her eyelid on a car door, beach volleyball partners Katie & Rachel felt a surge of hope when they arrived in Harvika to see two cars still there belonging to dating couples Nick & Vicki and Chad & Stephanie. Jumping into a trawling boat, Katie & Rachel hoped to overtake one of the teams, either Chad & Stephanie also on a trawler or Nick & Vicki on the mountain bikes. Of the three teams battling it out, Nick & Vicki completed the bike course first and ended the day in sixth place. However, Katie & Rachel passed Chad & Stephanie on the water so the beach volleyball partners knew they still had a shot at beating the dating couple.
While Chad & Stephanie got lost on the way to Ankenes Harbor, in the end it wasn't enough to prevent Katie & Rachel from finishing in last place. Rachel began to tear up when Phil told the beach volleyball partners they had been eliminated from the race. Still getting emotional later, Rachel said, "Katie was the best partner I could ever ask for. I can't think of anybody else that could run the race as good as her." Katie added, "It was a great experience. We saw so much that we've never seen before. I'm happy that we did it together." Rachel capped the experience off by saying, "I wanted to race forever."