As Ricky Bobby once said, if you’re not first you’re last. That Talladega Nights saying proved entirely too true on Tuesday night’s episode of The Amazing Race Canada, when Newfoundland cousins Megan Burden and Courtney Roberts went from a first place finish to dead last.
Unfortunately, in Castlegar, B.C., the girls fell behind early on and failed to recover during a tough detour that had them switching tasks halfway through and questioning themselves over and over again. Even worse? They landed last on that mat knowing that they had an unused Express Pass in their pockets… it was an unused golden ticket that ultimately could have kept them in the race a little while longer.
Hot on the heels of their sad elimination, we chatted up the cousins to find out what exactly went wrong, when they were officially kicking themselves, and why there’s still hope for the underdogs on this show.
You guys started this leg so strong — what went wrong?
Burden: It was just a disaster. Nothing went right for us that day, it wasn’t one particular thing we could pinpoint. We had to run up and down hills. That didn’t work for us. I’m not the strongest swimmer. That didn’t work for us. We couldn’t do the challenges, we switched all the time. It was everything about the day, there wasn’t one major point where we were like, ‘Okay, this is it for us.’
Do you feel like you’re more decisive now, knowing that switching challenges cost you so much time?
Roberts: We were definitely switching a lot, we spent way too much time at the last one. When we were looking at the pottery there were just so many steps to do it, we thought it would take forever. We wish we tried it at first to get the hang of it because when we went back we didn’t find it very difficult. But that was definitely something we regret, not trying it at first.
Obviously you wanted to save the Express Pass, but at what point were you officially kicking yourselves?
Roberts: When we actually heard the girls screaming at the mat, that’s when we were kicking ourselves. Up until that point we showed up at the Detour and all the teams were there so we figured we could catch up — it was anyone’s race. But we were literally a minute behind the girls. What you saw on TV was how close it was. So that was the moment when we knew we should have used it.
Were you hoping for a non-elimination leg?
Burden: Our only hope was that it would be a non-elimination. We figured, it was the third leg, maybe it is possible… but luck was not on our side that day.
Are you bummed you’re not going to China with the rest of the teams next week?
Roberts: We are so bummed we don’t get to go to China. We have never been near China — not even close. It was so devastating because Megan and I had never really travelled. The legs we did were all in Canada and that was amazing and beautiful, but to actually go on the other side of the world? Not being able to do that completely broke our hearts.
How do you even prepare physically for this when you know that the mental challenges are going to be your strong suit?
Roberts: We were both students so we actually didn’t get to prepare for the race at all. Megan wrote her last exam and we flew out that very day. So we didn’t prepare, we were kind of binge eating from exams — eating greasy foods and chocolate. We did not prepare enough physically. You really don’t realize how hard it is until you do it.
How did doing this thing test your friendship?
Burden: We honestly didn’t have any problems. Sometimes in the car when Courtney was telling me directions and I didn’t listen to her we’d bicker a little bit but honestly there was no point in time where our friendship was on the line. We pushed each other through and helped each other rather than bringing each other down.
Roberts: Being together, it was more positive. If I was struggling with anything Megan was cheering me on and trying to get me through it and vice-versa.
What was the most taxing thing either physically or mentally throughout this race?
Burden: Maybe delivering the coffee.
Roberts: No, it was Morse Code.
Burden: Ahhh, Morse Code.
Roberts: Out of all the challenges Morse Code was the hardest. Everything in the race would agree to that. No one could hear it.
What will you take away from this experience?
Burden: We pushed ourselves more than we ever have before, mentally, physically, emotionally. Courtney cried more than she ever cried in her life. It just brought us together and gave us a new outlook on life. We’re small town girls and we now realize there’s so much of the world and we’re not so scared of it anymore. We know we can take on whatever we have to.
Roberts: The most positive thing is the bond we share now because no one else shares that experience with me. I can always talk to Megan about it and how amazing it truly was.