The Amazing Race recap: 'Boats and trains and bikes, oh my'
If riding a tandem bicycle is the easiest thing a team gets to do—you know it’s a tough Amazing Race leg. But with only five teams left, this is time for the tough to get going. And according to Colin at the mat tonight, he and Christie basically decided to give it about 60 percent for the whole race up until this point, so the tough, uh, really super need to get going if anyone else is interested in taking first at next week’s finale.
As for the penultimate leg of this rrrrace around the world, it was a bag full of wrenches disguised as cracked eggs, plus a curveball in the shape of a U-Turn, and a number of sharp left turns all conveniently written in Dutch. Even though this leg only technically contained one Detour and no Roadblock, it was as high intensity as they come while also being…quite silly! Hoisting a cow up a tower—yes, please. Team Torey getting asked, “Are you guys idiots or something?” and them responding sincerely, “We don’t mean to be.” I’ll take it. A bunch of blonde teens deeming Nicole falling in the water “not the Dutch way,” but Nicole launching herself into the water from a greater height and getting smeared in mud very much “the Dutch way.” Just perfect, please and thank you.
What can I say? I’m just a recapper standing in front of “the Dutch way,” telling it “I love you.” Because the Dutch way mostly just seems to be using a lot of hard—and maybe just a little bit unnecessary—modes of transportation that present quite a challenge for our final five teams.
Team Torey leads the way out of Croatia to the Netherlands, but the scales quickly balance out when everyone has to wait until 9 a.m. in Kampen to retrieve their tandem bikes. And it’s hard to say what I enjoy more: Korey just straight up telling Tyler to keep his feet off the pedals because he’s making it worse, or Floyd maybe, kinda leading Becca to believe that he’s overcome his bike trauma from their last time on The Amazing Race and is now riding like the wind, when really, he is just keeping his legs tucked up like a mid-air cannonball on the back of that bike.
Either way, the tandem bikes took all five teams to the DETOUR: HIGH vs. DRY. Almost all the teams chose High, wherein each team has to bike to a field to pick up a fake cow, follow behind a trailer as it transports the cow to a clock tower, and then personally hoist the harnessed cow to the top of the tower in under 40 seconds. (This is to honor some sort of local tradition where it is unclear if the hoisted cow is fake or not—all the teams are very relieved to find that at least their cows are fake, however). Everyone gets their cow to the top in under 40 seconds with no problem, but the real tricky part of this leg is all the directions. Team Fun gets lost finding the cow field, and getting lost on a tandem bicycle is really just a much different story, energy-wise, than getting lost in a car.
Only Team Vicole chooses to do Dry, where they have to cross a ditch “the Dutch way” (issa pole vault, y’all), pick up a dozen eggs and two wheels of cheese, and transport them back to a market. Nicole struggles a bit with the pole vault, but they remain focused on keeping their eggs safe while pole vaulting back over the ditch and biking to the market, and get through this Detour no problem. The problem comes…
WITH A SURPRISE DOUBLE U-TURN! There is something quite rude about springing the U-Turn in the middle of the leg. Teams who find out they have to compete for both sides of the Detour from the very beginning often seem to find a little extra pep in their step they never knew they had, but finding out you have to do another Detour after you’ve already fallen in a ditch while teens informed you that wasn’t the Dutch way in a disturbingly congenial manner…that’s a toughie.
But both U-Turned teams called on some extra TAR strength to tandem-bike all over this tiny town. The leading teams, Torey and Zen, knew that the Afghanimals intended to U-Turn someone, so they decided to leave the dirty work to them. And indeed, they were correct, the Afghanimals intended to U-Turn Team Vicole since they said their name in the last U-Turn vote, and given that they arrived just before Victor and Nicole, they got their chance. And given that there’s still one team behind them, Team Vicole has to U-Turn Team Fun to save themselves.
But it’s still not exactly a sure thing—not even for the teams ahead of the U-Turned teams. That is the Dutch way, my friends! Just like Team Fun did before them, Team Vicole has to do a lot of back-tracking while searching for the field of fake cows. And they’re so exhausted by all the extra biking once they arrive at the tower, that it takes them two tries to get the cow to the top. But Team Fun has their own setbacks in their second Detour, namely that when Becca has a slightly shaky pole vault across the ditch while carrying the bag eggs, they don’t carefully check them all before heading to the market. And when the man at the market informed them he couldn’t give them the clue because one of the eggs was cracked and they would have to go back and get more, I truly feared that Becca might take a Dutchman’s life that day…
But no, she and Floyd summon all the fun inside them, they go back to that ditch, they get another bag of eggs, and they check every single one before heading back to the market. And after Becca and the Dutchman resolve their difference, it’s onto THE PITSTOP at BOVENWIJDE LAKE.
But not so fast! There was no Roadblock in this leg, but there were basically like six Detours (seven for the U-Turned teams). To get to the Pit Stop, teams have to navigate a series of canals—the only way to drive through the town of Giethoorn where there are no roads)—starting with one boat, and find two more marked boats as they ride along, creating a boat-train. Of course, Colin grew up traveling by canal because Colin and Christie are good at everything. And other than getting distracted by a boat full of shirtless young men with beers, Team Torey mostly makes it down the canals alright.
The Afghanimals, on the other hand, who were set up for first place when they arrived in Giethoorn, had quite a bit of trouble. First, they missed the second set of marked boats and ended up nearly at the mat before they realized they needed to turn around. Then when they turned around, they did it on a one-way canal, which is not something you want to do while steering a boat-train. Then something got caught in their motor and they had to wave down a Dutch teen to help them (the Dutch way: highly capable teens!). This made for quite the suspenseful boat-train race as Team Vicole spotted the Afghanimals wandering around canals aimlessly when they were collecting their first boat, and realized they still had a chance. And then Team Vicole took the long way to the island holding Phil, while Team Fun took the shortcut, and it really seemed like it could be anyone’s game…
1: TEAM ZEN
2: TEAM TOREY
4: TEAM VICOLE
ELIIMINATED: TEAM FUN Alas, leg 10 is simply not Team Fun’s leg. But as they point out, they actually made it to the mat this time without Floyd passing out from heat stroke, so that is an improvement. And whoo, I got a little choked up when Phil pointed out that maybe their destiny was simply to meet each other. Because it really is something special that two people could have been paired together as strangers, become best friends, and gotten to live their “delusional childhood dream.” Twice! That’s the Amazing Race way. (I’ll see myself out.)
Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.