Sometimes it’s your leg, and sometimes it’s just… not.
It was definitely not Dan Kipnis and Riya Malik‘s leg of the race on The Amazing Race Canada (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV), as the Toronto-based friends and YouTube creators fell behind in Fort McMurry and in the end just couldn’t catch up.
Although they completed all of the tasks — the tree-tracking experience, the shooting range and the tricky math problem — in the end they landed on the mat in last place, where host Jon Montgomery informed them that had been eliminated from the race.
Even though they were eliminated second, that doesn’t mean the life-long friends weren’t scared to tears over a certain challenge, put through the mental and physical ringers, or in the end rejuvenated creatively over their time on the show. When we caught up with them the morning after, here’s what they had to say about it all.
What ultimately went wrong?
Kipnis: I don’t know exactly what went wrong, it was luck. Especially on the last challenge. We got there before the other two teams and then luck just wasn’t in our favour.
Malik: I can’t say that Daniel and I didn’t push our hardest. We tried our best, but sometimes things just don’t play in your favour. You take a wrong turn, you get lost, you show up to the challenge late and it snowballs and then you get eliminated.
Is it easier to go out like that than, say, failing epically at a specific challenge because you just couldn’t do it?
Malik: Definitely. In the episode we were very close to Yvonne and Korey and it was neck-and-neck. Either one of us could have gone home. I’m glad we were able to complete everything, we just needed that last oomph and we couldn’t make it. No regrets.
Did you have an inkling that math might have eventually played into this race?
Malik: When we saw it we were shocked because math is definitely one of our nightmares, but Dan and I were science students, that’s what we did in school so it wasn’t like the end-all, be-all for us. We weren’t like, ‘Oh my God, this sucks.’ We were like, ‘We got this.’ And we did get it.
Kipnis: Yeah we got -497 so we just erased the negative and it worked.
What was shooting a gun like?
Kipnis: Shooting the gun at first was a complete nightmare. I had no idea what I was even aiming for — I couldn’t see the flying bird or whatever it was. And then for some reason something got in me where I just got the first one and I was on a roll and the rest of it came naturally I guess.
What was the biggest strain on your friendship?
Malik: The uncontrollable things, like getting lost. That’s when we start bickering and blaming each other. It’s a stress of the moment thing, we get over it. There was nothing really straining on the relationship but definitely when you’re lost and stuck.
Kipnis: We tried to keep our cool as much as possible. Coming into the race we both spoke about just being there for each other and not blaming the other one. Even in the hardest time you have to kind of just bite your tongue and understand that it’s a hard choice and we’re trying our best.
What was the scariest moment?
Kipnis: The tightrope in the first leg. I wanted to absolutely cry, and I did at the end. However I would have picked that over skydiving.
Malik: For me it was the tightrope too, like when I saw Daniel do it, I didn’t even know what advice to give him.
At that point do you feel like you’re in physical danger or do you know you’re okay and it’s just really scary?
Kipnis: I knew I would have been safe but in the back of your mind you still think, ‘Well what if I’m that rare case where the rope snaps?’ No one chooses to die, that doesn’t happen! But then once you’re on it, it wasn’t the height that was so much of an issue for me, it was that I couldn’t get it.
Malik: You were more focused on falling behind when other people were getting it.
What was the most taxing thing either physically or mentally?
Kipnis: Not eating.
Malik: Mentally was a lot more straining. We call it Race Brain. You’re so filled with adrenaline you don’t care about anything but getting to the board. And then when you finish the leg all that adrenaline leaves your body and you realize the pain you’re in because you’ve just been running yourself dry. We are not physical people. Even for what we ran that’s really good for us.
Not eating is interesting, as viewers you don’t stop and think about whether you guys get snacks.
Kipnis: You can bring whatever you want with you and you can even stop at Tim Horton’s and grab a bagel, it’s up to you. But if you’re going to stop you’re going to basically forfeit the race because no one’s stopping. You actually don’t think of food while you’re racing, but as soon as you hit the mat the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Okay someone get me a sandwich, I’m starving.’
What will you take away from this?
Malik: One of the biggest lessons was doubting ourselves. We doubt ourselves constantly, but then we end up doing it and finishing it. That doubt is what stops us our entire lives and we just want to apply that lesson in our lives. We have a YouTube channel together and it’s tough putting yourself out there in front of people, creating content. You’re always doubting yourself, but just go for it. If you think it’s a good idea you can do it.
How does doing a race like this rejuvenate you creatively?
Malik: We were really pushed out of our comfort zone, and with creativity you have to go outside of your comfort zone and push your boundaries; you can’t just keep creating the same stuff. Daniel and I are not adventurous people but we definitely put ourselves out there. It changed us, and I think our content got better.
Kipnis: It did. It got to the point where I put on a blonde wig and a wedding dress and walked through a public park because I had to do a scene for a skit, but I would have never done that if I had so much fear in me. I was dying.