The fifth season of The Amazing Race Canada kicked off Tuesday night (8 p.m. on CTV), and with it we met 10 brand new teams of racers. This year, not only are these travel-seekers competing for the ultimate trip around the world, two fully loaded Next Generation 2018 Chevrolet Equinox True North Editions and a $250,000 grand prize, but this season promises to be full of extra surprises in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, too.
We certainly got a taste of that in the premiere as the teams sped off from the starting line in St. John’s N.L., and raced all the way to Vancouver with some tricky tasks to complete in between. Among them? Figuring out a complicated Morse code puzzle, performing in a bike polo race and completing a Road Block in which a person from each team had to tightrope walk across two extremely tall buildings.
Talk about an intense start.
Sadly, the episode also marked the end for funeral directors Deb and Aaron Baker. The mother-son duo fell behind during the Road Block and couldn’t quite make up the time they needed to in order to avoid a last place finish. Although we feel like we were only just getting to know these funeral home directors, we already miss their fun family antics, their teal power suits, and their fresh outlook on life.
Hot on the heels of their exit, we chatted them up about Deb’s scary run-in with the show’s medics, falling off a bike “about 40 times,” their mental mindset going into this thing and Deb’s penchant for mini temper tantrums.
Had you talked about the possibility of going out first beforehand?
Aaron: No, we were pretty sure that we wouldn’t be the ones that would happen to. But things happen along the leg, and going from coast-to-coast is a lot of travel to start off so you’re already pretty tired. Honestly you just never know what’s going to happen once you rip that envelope.
Deb, tell us about the tightrope walking, did you feel as though you were in physical danger at all?
Deb: When I first stepped out onto the tightrope it was so exhilarating — I wasn’t even nervous. Even falling for the first time I yelled, ‘Hey! It’s my first bungee jump.’ But boy the second time I fell that took a lot out of me. People don’t realize how physical it was, like it’s not a simple thing. You have to coordinate ropes; one hand you’re pulling it down, the other you’re pulling it up and you’re trying to walk. And the wind is blowing. Yeah.
We saw you have to take a break there and the medics came in, what was going through your head?
Deb: My head was thinking about how I needed to get back out there. But I was freezing cold, all I wanted was for somebody to give me a jacket so that I could get back out. But the medics had to check me out. So I needed to make sure I was okay to get back out there, but I wondered how I could do it.
Aaron what was going through your head when you saw that?
Aaron: Watching her the first time I just got so emotional, I couldn’t believe the things a mother is willing to do for her son. The first time she set out I started crying because I was so proud of her. It honestly shows how far a parent will go for their child.
Deb: Especially when balance is the worst thing! I can’t even stand on one leg without falling over.
Aaron: She got so far the first time and I was so pumped. We were in a decent spot. And then the second one she just lost her focus. She tried to go a little faster and that made her fall closer to the building. So I waiting for her third try, but then someone who fell after her went before her and I was like, ‘Okay what’s going on?’ And then I got word from production to go up and check on my mom. Once you hear that you don’t really know what’s going on. You hope everything’s okay in that moment because my mom’s health is everything to me. So that was one of the longest elevator rides up I’ve ever had.
Seeing her laying down and breaking down… that was my moment when I was like, ‘Okay it’s my turn to be the parent.’
Is riding a bike again just as easy as they say it is to remember?
Deb: As a mommy, when you’re teaching your kids how to ride a bike you tell them never to let go of the handlebars. Well there’s a reason for that because I fell 40 times! You can blame the producers for that, for having two balancing acts on the same leg!
Aaron: Both of those challenges were balancing acts. In true judgment at the time we should have chosen the dragon boat, but when you rip that card you are in Race mind. You can’t start over or under-thinking, because you don’t know. You don’t fully understand until you get there.
How tough was this thing mentally?
Deb: It’s challenging. You have no idea where you’re going to be or what you’re going to do. We got a clue that said ‘uptight…’ well I was uptight that morning. Would you have figured it out? You just go and then you find out what it is. So mentally it’s hard to prepare for. And physically you don’t know what to prepare for. Yeah I can ride a bike, but I’m looking straight ahead and leisurely looking at things around you. Bike polo? Not at the same time!
Aaron, you had listed your mom’s mini temper tantrums as a potential stressor for your team in your original bio—we didn’t see any, but Deb, did you have any?
Aaron: Unfortunately the world didn’t get to see them but I see them on a daily basis. She gets into these modes where she’s just hard to get out of them and she’ll pout, she’ll kick and scream like a toddler.
Aaron: See what I mean? No… there was one instance in the first leg with our cab driver. My mom was giving him a hard time being like, ‘We’re on a budget, you promised us it was only going to be this much.’ And then it grew from there. But it didn’t make it to air. I love my mom no matter what. Her tantrums definitely could have slowed us down in the future.
Deb: But they also could have pushed me too.
Aaron: Yes. There are good things about it too. She could go into ‘Mom Rage Mode,’ and she’s scary in that mode.
Deb: I’ll do anything to protect my kids, believe me.
Any regrets on wearing those suits instead of athletic wear?
Aaron: Nope. We are the suits, it is what identifies us and our profession and our suits were not the thing that hindered us, at all.
Deb: Nope. They’re very comfortable. We do more than what you saw on the show in our suits. Like, we do everything in our suits because that’s what we wear every day. Why wear something you’re not comfortable with?