CLIFFHANGER IN MOSCOW
While dating couple Trey & Lexi breezed to another first place finish in Moscow, chaos reigned supreme across 3 teams -- Abbie & Ryan and Josh & Brent missed a connection putting them hours behind, and a taxi driver sped off with Abbaâ€™s passport.
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 12:35pm, dating couple Trey & Lexi ripped open their clue sending them to Moscow, Russia. When they landed, they had to make their way to Zurab Tsereteli Sculpture Park to find their next clue. At the airport with many options, the six teams scrambled for the fastest flight to Moscow. Initially, Trey & Lexi were so overwhelmed by unfamiliar names like Aeroflot that they chose to eat at the food court instead of finding a carrier. However, once alliance partners Natalie & Nadiya arrived in the terminal, the foursome found seats on a Turkish Airlines flight connecting through Munich landing in Moscow at 4:00am. Seeing the two teams working together, Ryan snipped, â€œBabies. Figure out how to go from point A to point B without someone elseâ€™s help.â€ Watching Abbie & Ryan walk past them without saying a word, the foursome joked that Abbie had â€œcrazy eyes.â€
TAKING A RISK
While Chippendales Jaymes and James and rock star and lawyer James & Abba found a KLM flight connecting through Amsterdam landing in Moscow at 2:00am, Abbie & Ryan did some research on a computer and booked seats on a Turkish Airlines flight through Frankfurt arriving in Moscow at 3:40am even though they had a tight one-hour connection in Frankfurt. Wanting to get into Moscow earliest as possible, they commented that the short connection time was â€œworth the risk.â€ At a travel agency, goat farmers Josh & Brent faced a dilemma over two flight options. One was the flight through Frankfurt with the short connection landing in Moscow at 3:40am while the other was a flight through Athens landing in Moscow at 5:00am. Unable to decide, the goat farmers chose to flip a coin: heads Frankfurt, tails Athens. Josh tossed the coin, caught it, and revealed the coin on heads. The Beekman boys would be traveling through Frankfurt just like Abbie & Ryan.
DEAD MAN WALKING
While Trey & Lexi, Natalie & Nadiya, James & Abba, and Jaymes & James all flew through their connecting cities into Moscow without issues, the problems for Abbie & Ryan and Josh & Brent started on the tarmac in Istanbul. With a tight connection in Frankfurt, the two teams nervously waited after the flight attendant announced their flight would be an hour late into the city. Josh later said, â€œWe knew we were in trouble. The delay ate up our entire transfer time.â€ Landing in Frankfurt with mere minutes before their connecting flight departed, the two teams ran to the gate, but the doors had closed and they just missed the plane. Faced with having to find a new flight, the disappointed teams discovered their best option was one connecting through Warsaw that wouldnâ€™t land in Moscow until 3:10pm. Now nearly half a day behind other teams, Ryan said, â€œThis isnâ€™t even fun anymore. I feel like dead man walking right now.â€ Abbie added, â€œThe teams that donâ€™t like us and want us out are way ahead of us.â€
MORNING IN MOSCOW
Just before 9:30am, the four teams gathered in front of Zurab Tsereteli Sculpture Park on Moscow waiting for the doors to open. The teams at the front of the pack noted the conspicuous absence of Josh & Brent and Abbie & Ryan. When Lexi suggested that the two teams missed their flight, rock star James asked, â€œIs that possible?â€ Once the doors to the park open, teams ran inside past an array of sculptures, some whimsical, others frightening, to find their next clue sending them to Moskvoretsky Most to search for Ivan the Terribleâ€™s guards. While James & Abba jumped into a taxi, Trey & Lexi, Natalie & Nadiya, and Jaymes & James got directions and ran together as a group to Moskvoretsky Most. Lexi later explained, â€œWeâ€™ve already been aligned with Natalie & Nadiya and we are friends with the Chippendales so it was just natural to try and find it together.â€
BY THE BOOK
With a stunning view of the Kremlin in front of them, James & Abba reached the guards standing on Moskvoretsky Most in first place. Once there, they found a Detour asking them to choose between Synchronized and Alphabetized. Alphabetized required teams to visit the Russian state library housing 24 million books indexed in a sea of card catalogs in the Russian language. After choosing a librarian, teams would be given a list of books with their information printed in Cyrillic. Selecting four books from the list, they had to comb through hundreds of card catalogs to find each bookâ€™s location and then search the aisles to retrieve the books. Synchronized required teams to go synchronized swimming with the next generation of Russiaâ€™s gold medal winning team. Teams had to learn and perform a choreographed routine in time with the music to the coachâ€™s approval. Feeling unsure about swimming with Abbaâ€™s hurt knees, James & Abba made their way to the Russian state library to search for books. Limping as he ascended the stairs to the entrance of the massive library, Abba said, â€œAll right, letâ€™s use some brains.â€ After getting the list of books with the author, name, and date written in Russian from a librarian, the rock star and lawyer walked over to the rows and rows of card catalogs with no game plan on how to begin. On the Cyrillic language, Abba said, â€œThere are letters weâ€™ve never seen before.â€ Making little headway in identifying any of the books on their list, Abba joked, â€œI think Iâ€™d rather drown.â€
While Abba & James struggled, dating couple Trey & Lexi arrived at the state library and quickly identified the card catalog sorted by authors. Since the couple couldnâ€™t make heads or tails out of the unfamiliar language, they instead relied on the shapes of each letter to know when they matched a book on their list to one in the catalog. Using this process, Trey & Lexi found the listings for all four books while James & Abba threw in the towel and headed to complete synchronized swimming challenge instead. After writing the information for each of the four books down on paper, Trey & Lexi were led by the librarian from the card catalogs to the libraryâ€™s stacks that housed the many volumes. Using the numbered system, the dating couple walked up and down the rows of books collecting each of the four volumes they needed and delivered them to the head librarian. Opening their next clue, Trey & Lexi discovered they had to take a taxi to the Luzhkov Most and search for the Trees of Love.
MAKING A PACT
In Warsaw, the mood between Abbie & Ryan and Josh & Brent was somber as they waited for their connecting flight to Moscow. Ryan raised the issue of how the two teams would approach racing once they landed in Russia. Feeling a sense of camaraderie after the shared heartbreak of missing the flight, Josh voted to race together and Ryan confirmed that he and Abbie felt the same. The foursome made the agreement official by shaking hands as Ryan later commented, â€œItâ€™s always better to stay with another team for comfort.â€
Arriving at the aquatic center, Chippendales Jaymes & James changed into tiny speedos and bright floral swim caps before entering the pool area. After picking an instructor, the Chippendales began learning the routine first on the tiled deck outside of the water before jumping in to continue the instruction. However, once the pair jumped into the pool, the routineâ€™s difficulty became quickly apparent as they attempted underwater rolls and spins. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the choreography, the Chippendales decided to gauge their skill and progress by performing the routine with their team of talented swimmers. On the first try, the Chippendales were out of formation while on the second and third attempts Jaymes flipped too early.
As the Chippendales continued to perfect their routine, twins Natalie & Nadiya, who still had an Express Pass to use before the end of the next leg, arrived at the pool. After diving in, the twins discovered that the language barrier between themselves and their instructor would be a major obstacle in learning the choreography. Almost immediately, they considered using their Express Pass, and after a failed attempt at performing the routine, they decided that using it was the best option. However, when the twins shouted their plan across the pool to the Chippendales, Jaymes replied, â€œNo way. Donâ€™t waste it.â€ Knowing that they were hours ahead of Abbie & Ryan and Josh & Brent, Jaymes felt the twins should save the Express Pass for the next leg. Listening to Jaymesâ€™ reasoning, the twins later said, â€œAt this point we feel like losers for trying to quit.â€ This strategy proved wise as both teams completed the swimming soon after.
LOCKS OF LOVE
Arriving at Luzhkov Most in first place, dating couple Trey & Lexi ripped open their clue to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to choose one of the Trees of Love, made up of locks symbolizing eternal love, find a Race ribbon locked into the tree, and figure out which ten keys unlocked all of its locks. Once unlocked, teams would find their next clue hidden inside the ribbon. Choosing a Tree of Love, Trey found a large key ring dangling from the pole and systematically began trying each key on the ring to unlock the first lock holding the Race ribbon on the tree. Trey also noticed that on each individual lock attached to the ribbon were another smaller set of keys that he assumed would unlock more of the padlocks like a domino effect. When Chippendale James arrived on the bridge and began trying keys on his tree, Trey unlocked his first lock and from there he kept his lead over the Chippendale. After unlocking the tenth and final lock, Trey removed the yellow and red ribbon from the tree, pulled it apart to reveal a small metal tube. Opening the tube, Trey pulled out a folded 100 Ruble bill with a picture of the Bolshoi on the back. Teams had to figure out that this opulent 19th Century theater was the Pit Stop for this leg of the Race. With the help of their taxi driver who recognized the Bolshoi Theater from the bill, dating couple Trey & Lexi jumped onto the mat in first place once again. For their victory, the dating couple won a trip for two from Travelocity to Maui. After back-to-back wins, Trey said, â€œI think we realize how strong of a team we really are. So now we got our eye on the prize. Weâ€™re ready to win the million.â€ Chippendales Jaymes & James ended the leg in second place while Natalie & Nadiya took a distant third after Natalie had difficulties unlocking her Tree of Love.
A ROUGH DAY
Bleeding even more time after being dropped off at the wrong aquatic center, rock star and lawyer Abba & James finally reached the correct pool and began learning the routine. From the beginning, the coach shook her head in disbelief watching the pair ungracefully flounder in the water. After one of many failures, an out of breath James propped himself along the edge, saying, â€œRough day in the old pool today, man.â€ After almost twenty attempts, Abbaâ€™s hurt knee began to wear out so the pair put all their effort into one last performance that paid off when the coach rewarded them with the clue. With Abbie & Ryan and Josh & Brent finally landing in Moscow and reaching the Zurab Tsereteli Sculpture Park together, James & Abba arrived at Luzhkov Most and told their taxi driver to wait for them. Once Abba began the lengthy task of unlocking his Tree of Love, he decided that he and James should get their packs from the taxi and release him instead of making him wait. Walking off the bridge, the rock star and lawyer thought they spotted their taxi, but as they neared the car they knew it wasnâ€™t the right driver. Now worried, James said, â€œI donâ€™t know where he is, man.â€ Stunned, Abba added, â€œWe just lost all of our stuff.â€
As James & Abba considered their options, Abbie & Ryan and Josh & Brent had no choice on Moskvoretsky Most. The two teams wanted to Alphabetize but the State library closed at 4:00pm so they all went to the aquatic center to Synchronize. While dance instructor Abbie and jiu-jitsu martial artist Ryan quickly picked up the choreography and used their athleticism to shine in the pool, the more uncoordinated Josh & Brent struggled not only with the moves but also with swimming. After the long journey to Moscow, Abbie & Ryan found a burst of energy and determination when they performed the routine and received a big thumbs up from the coach along with their clue. However, because of their agreement at the airport, Abbie & Ryan sat on the sidelines and supported Josh & Brent who appeared very far from finishing the task. B
AD TO WORSE
Meanwhile, at Luzhkov Most, the situation for rock star and lawyer James & Abba went from bad to much, much worse. Bummed about losing their bags, a disappointed Abba considered throwing in the towel, but James convinced his friend to continue unlocking his Tree of Love. After unlocking all ten locks and pulling out the ruble, Abba walked with James off the bridge hoping one last time that their driver returned. When the friends didnâ€™t see the taxi anywhere, James said, â€œWe just gotta cut this loss. Nothing we can do about it.â€ Then, James asked if Abba had his passport. Abba didnâ€™t. Trying to lighten the mood, Abba joked, â€œIâ€™m just gonna jump off the bridge.â€ With no other recourse, rock star and lawyer James & Abba took a taxi with what money they had left to the Bolshoi Theater and stepped on the mat in fourth place. However, without Abbaâ€™s passport, Phil couldnâ€™t check them in and gave the directive, â€œYou need to produce the passports.â€ On the dire situation, Abba said, â€œI know what he [the driver] looks like. I know what his cab looks like, but in a city of 10 million people what are the odds of finding the one that weâ€™re looking for?â€
TO BE CONTINUED
2107 ROUTE MARKERS
Roadblock: A roadblock is a task that only one person can perform. In this Roadblock, that person had to choose one of the Trees of Love, made up of locks symbolizing eternal love, find a Race ribbon locked into the tree, and determine which ten keys unlock all of its locks. Once unlocked, teams would find their next clue hidden inside the ribbon. Performed Roadblock: Trey, James, Abba, Natalie
Detour: In this Detour, teams had to choose between Synchronized and Alphabetized. Alphabetized require