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Season 15: Episode 7 - This is Not My Finest Hour (The Netherlands)

This is Not My Finest Hour (The Netherlands): Brian & Ericka appeared to be out of the race until Maria & Tiffany, with a sizable lead, couldn’t complete either side of the Detour allowing the married couple to barely survive as the professional poker players quit the race.

I’VE GOT A SECRET
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 1:13pm, dating couple Meghan & Cheyne ripped open their clue instructing them to fly over 3,000 miles to Amsterdam. Once there, they had to drive themselves to Afsluitdijk, a 19-mile causeway that connects North Holland and Friesland, and find the Lely Monument for their next clue.

Arriving at the Dubai International Airport, Meghan & Cheyne discovered that the earliest flight to Amsterdam left at Midnight, allowing the other five teams to catch up to them. With some time to kill before their flight departed, teams had a rare opportunity to mingle with one another. Fresh off of their incredible come-from-behind victory, Globetrotters Flight Time & Big Easy regaled teams with the story of how they beat dating couple Mika & Canaan. Afterwards, in a surprise to teams, brothers Sam & Dan, who were feeling comfortable with the remaining racers, officially came out of the closet to a very warm reception. Brian joked, “Now the matching swimsuits make sense.” On the news, Tiffany commented, “Gay or straight, it doesn’t matter. They’re still the most sweet and adorable and gentlemanly guys on this race with us. Who they choose to date, we could really care less.”

GETTING IN GEAR
Landing in Amsterdam, five teams quickly exited the parking structure at Schiphol Airport while one, married couple Brian & Ericka struggled to get their car into gear. Driving off, Maria & Tiffany joked, “These kids aren’t used to luxury cars.” The usually calm Brian began to get flustered and snapped at Ericka, prompting her to reply, “Don’t get mad at me because you don’t know how to work the damn car!” Trying it again with no luck, an incredulous Brian said, “I got the foot on the brake. It’s ridiculous!” Finally, with the help of a local, Brian got the car into drive and he and Ericka began the drive to the Lely Monument, well behind the other teams in last place. When Brian continued to fixate on what happened, a frustrated Ericka shouted, “Stop tripping out! You dictate my mood and you know I have a shorter fuse than you!”

Driving along the Afsluitdijk causeway, dating couple Meghan & Cheyne and brothers Sam & Dan led the way as all five teams ahead of Brian & Ericka found the Lely Monument. At the statue, the teams ripped open their clue instructing them to drive to the city of Groningen and find Martinitoren, the highest building in the city.

RING MY BELL
Dating couple Meghan & Cheyne and brothers Sam & Dan continued to lead the way as they arrived at Martinitoren in first and second place respectively to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to navigate up the narrow, winding staircases and through the maze of doors inside the tower’s two floors while counting the bells that make up the city’s famed carillon. If they came up with the correct number, 62, the carillon player would hand them their next clue.

Meghan and Sam entered the tower and began the climb up the dark, winding staircases agreeing to work together to preserve the miniscule lead they held on the other teams. Before reaching the first floor of bells, Sam joked, “Glad I did the Stairmaster at home.” The teamwork paid off in the dark tower as Sam and Meghan quickly counted all the bells on the first floor and continued their climb to the top of Martinitoren.

Meghan and Sam returned to daylight when they reached the very top of the tower that offered a stunning view of the city. With many more bells to count, the pair got down to business only to be interrupted when the carillon player began to play a tune. The loud and piercing clanging of the bells threw off Meghan and Sam’s concentration and made it virtually impossible for them to communicate and compare their numbers. The pair’s confusion allowed a quiet and focused Matt, working alone, to pass them and deliver the correct number of 62 to the carillon player first. Opening the clue below, father and son Gary & Matt learned they had to drive to the town of Vierhuizen de Marne and find the large windmill.

In asking for directions to the town, the father and son ceded their lead back to Sam & Dan and Meghan & Cheyne who counted the 62 bells close behind Matt. On his way down the dark tower steps, Sam blurted out the answer to Tiffany allowing her to finish the task in fourth place. While Meghan & Cheyne bemoaned Sam’s decision, he defended it, saying, “It was a smart move in my opinion because they’re [Maria & Tiffany] a team that we can beat.”

From the first moment Ericka set foot in Martinitoren, she knew this would not be an easy task for her, saying, “The bell tower was dark and gloomy and a little bit murky. There was a lot going on.” By the time Ericka made her first incorrect guess of 43 bells, all the remaining racers had already left Martinitoren. Climbing back up the stairs to count the bells again, Ericka muttered, “Brian should have done this.” Down below, Brian commented, “She’s gotta be close. Every other team has figured this out.”

VERY MUCH DUTCH
Arriving at the windmill in Vierhuizen de Marne in first place, brothers Sam & Dan opened their clue to find a Detour with the choice of Farmer’s Game or Farmer’s Dance. In both Detour choices, teams had to don traditional Dutch costumes, one male and one female, and ride bicycles to the start of the Detour. In Farmer’s Game, teams had to find a creek, strip down to their farmer’s underwear, and swim across. Then, using a unique set of golf clubs shaped like wooden shoes, teams had to play three holes of golf. Taking turns, they had to finish each hole in eight strokes or less to receive their next clue. In Farmer’s Dance, teams had to find a country festival where one team member had to ring the bell on top of a high striker. Then, they had to learn a Dutch folk dance and perform the moves correctly in front of a crowd. After the performance, teams would receive a reward of salted herring with onions from their instructor. When they finished the herring, they would receive their next clue.

As the teams donned their traditional Dutch costumes, Sam and Matt grabbed the male costumes leaving their partners, Dan and Gary, to put on the female costumes, Dutch dresses complete with dainty hats. Dan didn’t care about dressing up as a woman, later saying, “All I cared about was beating Meghan & Cheyne.” For Gary, this wasn’t his first foray into cross-dressing, citing “a couple of pranks, Halloween, nothing kinky.”

LOSING COUNT
While Sam & Dan and Meghan & Cheyne raced on their bicycles for a shot at first place, Ericka’s frustration grew as her miscounting of the bells continued. After being rejected again by the carillon player, Ericka said, “It seems like this should be really easy, but clearly it’s not. I just don’t want to go home on account of bells.” Another incorrect guess reduced Ericka to tears as she walked down the stairs to seek comfort from her patient husband. Ericka said, “I’m not giving up, but I cannot figure it out.” Brian suggested that she take a break to regroup before going back to try again. After the break, Ericka gave it another shot and finally arrived at the correct number of 62, causing her to cry once again, this time from sheer joy and exhaustion. After giving her a big hug, Brian said, “I’m so proud of you, baby. We’re not done yet.”

WILD SWING
Arriving at the creek, Sam & Dan stripped down to their underwear, jumped into the cold water and swam across, still keeping their narrow lead on Meghan & Cheyne as both teams headed to the golf. From the beginning, Meghan didn’t want to choose Farmer’s Golf insisting that she couldn’t play, but Cheyne convinced her that she would be great at it. On the first hole, both teams battled against the wind trying to keep their ball on the course that consisted of tall grass in a wide, open field. The brothers found success before the dating couple by reaching the first hole in exactly eight shots for an even par. Meanwhile, Meghan struggled to find her stroke, saying, “I’m terrible at this! I hate golf.” Before Meghan finally picked up a technique to get the ball to the hole, Sam & Dan finished the third hole to earn their clue instructing them to ride bicycles to the next Pit Stop at Zoutkamp Harbor.

Running onto the mat in their wooden clogs at Zoutkamp Harbor, brothers Sam & Dan cheered as they finally claimed first place and won a sand buggy for their efforts. On their successful day, Sam commented, “[We’re] very, very excited about this. Cheyne and Meghan had been first the past two times. It was nice to kind of take them off their throne and get a win for us.”

As Meghan & Cheyne settled for second place, professional poker players Maria & Tiffany tried unsuccessfully to hit the high striker hard enough to ring the bell at the top. After 30 attempts, the pair ditched the dance and jumped into the creek to join Gary & Matt on the golf course. With the winds picking up, both teams had extreme difficulty hitting the ball to the first hole in the required eight shots. Maria joked, “This is not golf. We don’t golf with wooden sticks that look like shoes.”

GETTING DOWN
While Gary & Matt and Maria & Tiffany struggled to make par, Globetrotters Flight Time & Big Easy hit the high striker and learned the Dutch folk dance moves. Not surprisingly, the entertainers knew how to put on a show, as they wowed the ladies at the festival with their moves. Flight Time joked that “it was Soul Train” when the pair added their own personal flair to the dance that ended with a hearty round of applause from their captive audience. After the Globetrotters choked down their herring, they got back on their bikes for a third place finish.

THE LONG WALK
Arriving in Vierhuizen de Marne in last place, Brian & Ericka failed to notice the row of bikes as they exited the windmill dressed in their Dutch costumes. Instead, completely oblivious to the instructions in their clue, they began the long walk to the festival in wooden clogs. As the couple continued along the country roads, Ericka complained that her feet hurt after her morning of climbing stairs at Martinitoren. Convinced that something was amiss, she made Brian reread the clue and he discovered they had missed taking bikes at the windmill. When Brian asked if she wanted to throw in the towel, a furious Ericka replied, “I’m not saying I want to quit. I’m just saying my knee hurts and I’m a little bit agitated. You have no idea what kind of pain I’m going in.”

NO GOOD CHOICE
While father and son Gary & Matt finally mastered the golf course to claim fourth place, Maria & Tiffany just couldn’t make it across the field in eight shots so they decided to return to the high striker after swimming back across the creek. Putting all her might into it, Tiffany came close to hitting the bell on several attempts as she and Maria traded off turns. Each attempt weakened the poker players physically and emotionally and they eventually stopped and hugged each other breaking down in tears, saying, “I feel like we can’t do any of this.”

With Brian & Ericka still walking to the Detour, Maria & Tiffany swam across the creek yet again and returned to the golf course. From swimming across the river and hitting the high striker, the poker players were depleted of any energy, as they tried to hit the ball to the first hole in under eight shots against the cold, hard wind. After another failed attempt, Maria tried to convince herself of impending success, saying, “I can do this. I know I can.”

STAYING ALIVE
As Maria & Tiffany strived for par on the golf course, Brian & Ericka arrived at the festival where Brian hit the high striker with no problem. The couple was having a difficult day up to this point, but they enjoyed their time together at the dance. Ericka later commented, “That was the moment I totally fell in love with him again.” After eating the herring, Brian & Ericka read the clue instructing them to take bicycles to the Pit Stop so they borrowed a pair of bikes from a nearby local.

Arriving at the mat in fifth place, a stunned Brian & Ericka thought they had beat the odds to stay in the race. However, Phil imposed a 30-minute penalty on the couple for not riding a bicycle to the Detour and asked them to step off the mat. With tears streaming down her face, Ericka cried, “I really want to stay in. I can’t believe this.” The always encouraging Brian tried to get his wife to think positively as they sweated out the penalty. After enduring the 30 minutes, Brian & Ericka returned to the mat where Phil officially declared them team number five.

FOLDING
With the harsh winds blowing, Maria & Tiffany continued to hit golf balls never making it close to the hole. As Phil walked out to where the poker players stood, Tiffany announced, “I think I’m done.” When Phil officially asked if the team had given up, Tiffany replied, “We don’t want to give up on the race, but we do not foresee that we will be able to finish this challenge with this weather. We are quitting the race and as a result understand that we will be eliminated.” On the experience, Maria commented, “Tiffany’s been my hero this entire race. I see her as completely invincible, but I have to remember that at the end of day we can only do so much.”

1507 ROUTE MARKERS
Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one person can perform. In this Roadblock, one team member had to navigate up the narrow, winding staircases and through the maze of doors inside the tower’s two floors while counting the bells that make up the city’s famed carillon. If they came up with the correct number, 62, the carillon player would hand them their next clue.

Performed Roadblock: MEGHAN, SAM, FLIGHT TIME, MATT, TIFFANY, ERICKA

Detour: A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons. In this Detour, teams had to choose between Farmer’s Game and Farmer’s Dance. In both Detour choices, teams had to don traditional Dutch costumes, one male and one female, and ride bicycles to the start of the Detour. In Farmer’s Game, teams had to find a creek, strip down to their farmer’s underwear, and swim across. Then, using a unique set of golf clubs shaped like wooden shoes, teams had to play three holes of golf. Taking turns, they had to finish each hole in eight strokes or less to receive their next clue. In Farmer’s Dance, teams had to find a country festival where one team member had to ring the bell on top of a high st