|Posted on Apr 15, 2013 11:15am|
THE END OF THE MULLET
After eight improbable legs, Chuck & Wynona’s unbelievable journey came to an end in Switzerland, where the married couple was eliminated while hockey brothers Bates & Anthony notched their third win in a row.
OFF TO SWITZERLAND!
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 5:55am, hockey brothers Bates & Anthony ripped open their clue instructing them to fly nearly 5,000 miles to Zurich, Switzerland. When they landed, they had to find the conductor who would give them further instructions. All six teams flew together from Maun, Botswana to Zurich, Switzerland where they bolted from the airport and spotted the conductor sporting a bright red hat and scarf. After ripping open their clues, teams now had to make their way by train to the town of Grindelwald and wait on the ground of the Kirche Grindelwald for an alpine shepherd to deliver their next clue.
With connections in Bern and Interlaken, the six teams boarded a train scheduled to arrive in Grindelwald at 6:39pm. Having some time to relax and enjoy the scenic views from the train, hockey brothers Bates & Anthony and country singers Caroline & Jennifer continued their race-long flirtations with one another. Bates joked, “Have you guys ever had a boyfriend that wore a fanny pack?” Anthony quickly added, “Or had no teeth?” Laughing, Caroline responded, “We really got some winners here. Toothless, fanny pack.” Later, the hockey brothers joked that this was their two-week anniversary with the country singers and that they “haven’t got anywhere yet, not even a kiss.” Tongue in cheek, the brothers added that they hoped the romantic backdrop of the Swiss Alps would help them win the country singers over.
EVERYONE VS. US
Jumping off the train at Bern, married couple Chuck & Wynona, newlyweds Max & Katie, Bates & Anthony, and Caroline & Jennifer all quickly hustled to track 5 and boarded their connecting train to Interlaken with minutes to spare. Meanwhile, roller derby moms Mona & Beth and Youtube hosts Joey & Meghan slowly exited the first train not realizing they had a tight connection. Just as the two aligned teams reached the platform, the doors on the train to Interlaken shut, and the other four teams already on board cheered in surprise and excitement as they pulled away from the station. Mona asked, “Did you see their faces? That was so mean.” On the train, Max told everyone, “At least it’s their ulcer and not ours.” After getting on the next available train, a glum Joey observed, “It feels like everyone versus us.” Arriving in Grindelwald with nearly an hour lead on Joey & Meghan and Mona & Bath, the four lead teams walked through the town towards the church as a light snow fell over them. Reaching Kirche Grindelwald, the teams saw a sign stating that the alpine shepherd would appear at 8:55am the following morning. They groaned with disappointment. Caroline announced, “I am not excited about this.” With nothing to do until morning, the teams all walked back into the quaint downtown to find lodging for the night.
After 8:00am the next morning, the six teams slowly walked back to Kirche Grindelwald and waited for the alpine shepherd to arrive. On the walk to the church, Chuck grew frustrated with Wynona about the pace at which she walked. Wynona warned, “If you start today I’m sitting down.” At 8:55am, the shepherd, riding on a unique-looking sled down the snow covered road, stopped in front of the teams. He handed each their next clue instructing them to travel by train to Kleine Scheidegg at the base of the Eiger where they had to pick up a Swiss rescue companion outside the historic Bellevue Hotel. In a mad dash down the snow and ice covered hill that led back to the train station, teams jockeyed for position thinking the next train could leave at any moment. However, Wynona couldn’t keep up with the pack and quickly dropped to last as Chuck grew increasingly irritated for having to wait for her. Through her labored breathing from jogging, Wynona told Chuck, “You’re just making a fool of yourself being mean.” When Chuck warned how upset he would be if they missed the train, Wynona responded, “I’m running! I don’t know what you want me to do.” Reaching the train station last, Wynona fumed when she saw that all of the other teams were waiting. They discovered that the first train to Kleine Scheidegg didn’t depart for almost an hour. As tears began to fall, Wynona’s voice cracked as she said, “I’m last and I can’t help it. I’m just a disappointment to him and I hate it.” Chuck later explained that he intentionally “egged her on” hoping to get her to run faster and catch the other teams. In response, Wynona remarked, “You’d think after 24 years he would realize that that isn’t egging me on.”
A NEW FRIEND
After enjoying a truly breathtaking ride into the majestic snow-blanketed Alps, the six teams ran off the train at Kleine Scheidegg and bounded into the snow towards barking sounds coming from six very excited St. Bernard dogs. The six teams each chose one of the very large, fluffy dogs and ripped open their next clue instructing them to travel by train to Europe’s highest railway station, Jungfaujoch, built 11,000-feet above sea level. Once there, they had to deliver their rescue dog to a mountain rescue guide and search the Sphinx for their next clue. With their new canine friends in tow, the six teams boarded the train and climbed the mountain up to Jungfaujoch. While country singers Caroline & Jennifer initially had some problems coaxing their dog, Cara, to climb onto the train, once on board they bonded with the dog and showered her with kisses. Jennifer later remarked that she hoped her dogs at home wouldn’t get jealous watching her affection. Chuck took an instant liking to his dog, Church, while Wynona noted that Chuck treated the dog better than he treated her. Chuck responded that the dog ran faster than Wynona.
ON THE LEDGE
Reaching Jungfaujoch, dubbed the Top of Europe, the teams ran with their dogs through cavernous corridors until they reached a closed metal door that they opened to reveal the mountaintop where the rescue guides waited. Trudging through the pristine, waist-deep snow, the teams delivered the St. Bernards to the guides and then returned inside and up an elevator to the Sphinx, an even higher peak, where they marveled at the view and found their next clue, a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to climb out an observation window on the north face of the Eiger and join their climbing partner, the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, perched thousands of feet above the valley floor. Battling the elements, they had to keep their nerve as they inched their way back across the sheer rock wall. Once they made it back to safe ground, they would find their next clue on the bottom of the Gnome. After a short train ride to the Eigerwand station, Katie led the way to the upper observation window followed by Wynona and Meghan who would have to wait for Katie to finish. At the lower observation window, Bates geared up first while Beth and Jennifer waited. Wanting to get a preview, Jennifer took a peek out the window and later said she was “shocked” when she saw how far above the ground they were, estimating it at 10,000-feet. She added, “I just wanted to get it over with.” Katie and Bates each stepped out of their respective observation windows with different mindsets. Bates refused to look down as his feet inched across the narrow board while he faced the imposing rock wall. Bates later admitted, “The most I do is get on a ladder and change a light bulb. That’s about as high as I go.” Meanwhile, Katie relished the experience as she zipped across the wood plank, saying, “It’s really cool. It’s really high. I’m looking down. I’m not scared.” Both racers reached their Travelocity Roaming Gnomes, hooked them onto carabineers, and stepped back into windows on the other side of the observation decks. Reading the clue on the bottom of the Gnome, both teams discovered they had to travel by train to the Grindelwald Grund station, cross the Lutschine Bruggli Bridge, and follow the sound of the Swiss Alphorn.
As Beth stepped out of the lower observation window, she hoped aloud that her kids would be proud of her. At the same time, a timid Wynona geared up at the upper observation window as Chuck joked, “In case things go wrong I won’t remarry for the first month.” By the time Wynona set foot outside the upper window, Beth had already returned inside the lower one with her Gnome, allowing a nervous Jennifer to climb out next. While Wynona barely inched across the ledge, Jennifer channeled her worries into speed as she darted across the rock wall, secured her Gnome, and returned inside before Wynona even made it halfway across. With Wynona struggling to make a turn around the ledge to find her Gnome, four teams anxiously waited at the Eigerwand station hoping to get ahead of the other two teams (Chuck & Wynona and Joey & Meghan) who weren’t there. Hearing the horn sound the train’s arrival, the four teams boarded and departed the station, relieved to have a cushion and some separation. Meanwhile, Wynona nearly slipped off the rock ledge, losing strength as she strained to turn the corner. However, by encouraging herself, she made the turn, secured her Gnome, and got back inside the window safe and sound. When she and Chuck learned that the next train down wouldn’t depart for 30 minutes, Chuck lamented, “Man, I wish you could’ve moved.” Wynona snapped back, “Disappointed again. I wish you for once could just say, ‘Good job.’” Chuck replied, “Good job. I’m glad you made it. The kids need a mother.” By the time the train finally arrived at Eigerwand station, Chuck & Wynona and Joey & Meghan boarded it at the back of the pack.
CHEESE HILL REDUX
Arriving in Grindelwald, the four lead teams ran across the Lutschine Bruggli Bridge and found the Swiss Alphorn player who handed them their next clue. Ripping it open, teams discovered a Switchback, returning to one of the most memorable challenges in Amazing Race history. Teams had to use a traditional Grindelwald sled to transport four 50-pound wheels of cheese from an outdoor storage shed to a barn at the bottom of the hill. Although hauling cheese would prove daunting, teams first had to master climbing the incredibly steep hill wearing their racing shoes. Even with the help of a rope for support, Katie kept sliding and falling down. Taking the lead from the start, hockey brothers Bates & Anthony scaled the hill while Katie was third in line using the rope to help. This meant that as long as Katie struggled, Mona & Beth and Caroline & Jennifer couldn’t pass the newlyweds as they were behind her. Trying to speed up the process, Beth even offered suggestions to Katie on how to get better footing in the snow since everyone’s progress was entirely dependent on Katie.
With a sizable lead on the other three teams, Bates & Anthony reached the shed at the top of the hill, where they each loaded two wheels of cheese onto their sleds so they would only need one trip to the barn below. With no easy way to pull the sleds, the hockey brothers simply used gravity to help them out. By getting in front of their sleds and steering, the weight of the cheese pushed the sled and the brothers through the snow and down the hill. As Bates later remarked, the only warning for this approach was, “Don’t let it run you over.” With a few wipeouts, Bates & Anthony glided down and reached the bottom of the hill just as the other three teams reached the top. After stacking their four wheels of cheese in the barn, the hockey brothers ripped open their next clue instructing them to find the Pit Stop at the Bodmi Snowboard and Ski School. As Bates & Anthony jumped into a taxi, Max & Katie, Mona & Beth, and Caroline & Jennifer all began their bumpy journey down Cheese Hill. At one point, Katie was almost run over by her own sled as she became buried in the snow. All six employed the same strategy as Bates & Anthony, allowing gravity to move the sleds and cheese, but Caroline’s cheese kept falling off every few feet. Among the three teams, Max & Katie got to the bottom of the hill fastest, followed by Mona & Beth. By the time the newlyweds and roller derby moms finished stacking their cheese in the barn, Youtube hosts Joey & Meghan arrived at the Swiss Alphorn player in fifth place just ahead of Chuck & Wynona. When the Youtube hosts and married couple arrived at Cheese Hill, Caroline & Jennifer delivered their four wheels of cheese in fourth place.
Arriving at the Bodmi Snowboard and Ski School, hockey brothers Bates & Anthony stepped on the mat in first place to secure their third win in a row. For their victory, the brothers won a trip for two from Travelocity to Bora Bora. Bates said, “Pretty sweet. Can’t be too disappointed in that performance.” Max & Katie fell into third place as Mona & Beth passed the newlyweds for second place while Caroline & Jennifer finished in fourth.
ON A ROLL
Now in a heated battle, Joey & Meghan scaled the hill with almost no problems while Wynona couldn’t get her footing. With a frustrated Chuck right behind her, an exhausted and exasperated Wynona shouted, “I can’t! I’m trying!” At one point, Chuck even used his head to help push her forward, but that accomplished little. Eventually, Chuck got ahead of Wynona and began pulling her up the hill, which finally got the couple making forward progress as they watched Joey & Meghan slide down the hill it. By the time Wynona reached the top of the hill, she told Chuck, “I’m so tired. This is awful.” As Joey & Meghan stacked their cheese in the barn, Chuck’s frustration with Wynona continued when she couldn’t properly maneuver her sled to get it moving down the hill. When Wynona initially suggested rolling the cheese, Chuck snapped, “You suck at walking through the snow. We’re not rolling it.” However, Wynona didn’t listen and decided to try rolling one cheese wheel just as Joey & Meghan finished delivering their four wheels. Seeing how well rolling the cheese worked, Chuck joined Wynona as they both sent their wheels flying down the hill.
THE LONGEST WALK
While Chuck & Wynona made up ground by rolling their cheese, Joey & Meghan started losing time when they couldn’t find a taxi and instead decided to walk to the Bodmi Snowboard and Ski School. The weather and altitude began to take a toll on Meghan who slowed down her pace as she worried, “I’m having a hard time breathing. I just don’t want to get eliminated.” When Joey tried to get Meghan to walk faster, she snapped, “I’m trying my hardest. I promise.” With Joey & Meghan slowly climbing the long and steep hill that led to the ski school, married couple Chuck & Wynona, who had no problems finding a taxi, arrived at the Pit Stop in fifth place. However, they didn’t read their clue properly at Cheese Hill. They had to use proper methods (the sled) to transport the cheese from the shed to the barn instead of rolling it. For the mistake, the married couple incurred a 30-minute penalty. As the couple nervously waited out the penalty hoping Joey & Meghan wouldn’t arrive, Chuck told Phil, “Physically, we’ve never matched up with this. I’ve tried to motivate her but it’s been physically grueling and draining on her.”
With the Pit Stop in sight, Joey & Meghan spotted Chuck & Wynona already standing on the mat. Exhausted and expecting the worst, Meghan broke out in tears as she sobbed to Joey, “We ran and walked this whole way and we should’ve taken a taxi.” Reaching the mat, Meghan cried, “We’re in last because of me because I wasn’t quick enough.” Joey & Meghan were stunned when Phil told them that Chuck & Wynona received a penalty, making the Youtube hosts officially team number five. After hugging a still crying Meghan, Joey remarked, “This Race is so unpredictable.” Now in last place, Chuck & Wynona heard the news from Phil that they were eliminated from the Race. Now in tears, Wynona said, “I’ve gone past what I thought I could. I never stopped.” Chuck later remarked that the Race didn’t tear them apart, adding, “We got a lot of life and a lot of history behind us. Just to see the sights and the world we went, it’s something we wouldn’t have had the money to do on our own. So we’re very grateful for that.”
2208 ROUTE MARKERS
Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one person can perform. In this Roadblock, that person had to climb out an observation window on the north face of the Eiger and join their climbing partner, the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, perched thousands of feet above the valley floor. Battling the elements, they had to keep their nerve as they inched their way back across the sheer rock wall. Once they made it back to safe ground, they would find their next clue on the bottom of the Gnome.
Performed Roadblock: Bates, Katie, Beth, Wynona, Jennifer, Meghan
Order of Finish: 1. Bates & Anthony 2. Mona & Beth 3. Max & Katie 4. Caroline & Jennifer 5. Joey & Meghan 6. Chuck & Wynona