Once again, The Amazing Race all came down to a single plane ride. Although the people's favorite, Jon Buehler and Kris Perkins, were assured that they were on the earliest possible flight to Chicago, dark horses Freddy Holliday and Kendra Bentley found a flight that landed in the Windy City half an hour earlier. While Jon and Kris made up time in the air, Freddy and Kendra were the first team on the ground, leading the pack all the way to the finish line. Here the soon-to-be married models (whose wedding is set for spring) tell TV Guide Online about their surprise victory and their relationship on the show. Also, Kendra faces up to certain charming comments she made while in Africa... you know what we mean.

TV Guide Online: Did you realize you had the race sewn up when you boarded the United flight and didn't see Kris and Jon anywhere?
Freddy Holliday:
It was not sewn up, because you never know what's ahead of you, but we were feeling about 68-70 percent sure. We also had an incredible staff on the plane; Kendra had all of the stewardesses working for her — they were giving us directions and maps of the city. They even gave us their subway passes. We had our route all planned out to the Water Tower. Even the pilot helped out; as we were landing, he came on the intercom and said, "For those of you who are interested, the American Airlines flight is seven minutes behind us." We were supposed to have a 35-minute lead, but you know Jon and Kris are the karma kings. They're such great people and have such great energy.

TVGO: They were definitely right on your heels throughout that last leg. Did you see them pull up to the pizza parlor as you were leaving? And how far ahead were you at that point?
It took us about 20 minutes to finish the pizza and as we left, they ran in. We actually got their cab. For that part of the race, the clue specifically stated you were not allowed to let your cab driver wait for you. We had had a very helpful cab driver, but we had to let go of him once we got to the pizza place. We did that and then we got a terrible cab driver. He was really trying, but he clearly had no idea where Ping Tom park was.

TVGO: Freddy, how did eating that pizza compare to the spicy soup you ate — and vomited in — during the Hungary leg?
No comparison. That soup incident was bad. It's not something I look back on as one of my finer moments. I think I took the worst beating of my life throughout the whole show. I had maybe 30 hours sleep in 30 days. I just couldn't sleep, and I don't sleep sitting up or on airplanes. I would just push myself until my body broke, and then I would pull two chairs together and grab a nap in an airport or something. I lost 15 lbs. in 30 days. It was brutal. It got to the point where I would show up on the mat and [TAR host] Phil [Keoghan] would go, "Are you OK?"

TVGO: Despite the physical exhaustion, were there any challenges you enjoyed?
The skydiving in Hawaii, definitely. That was a perfect day.
Kendra Bentley: I think my favorite was rappelling down the building in Shanghai, because I overcame a fear. That was the scariest thing I've ever done, and for me to conquer it and reach the bottom, I felt so proud of myself. And I couldn't get away from the fear at all while I was going down because every time I went to a new window, I could see how high up I was and the petrified look on my face.

TVGO: Kendra, you raised a lot of eyebrows with your comments in Africa, particularly your disapproval of Senegalese people "breeding." What was going on there?
That was taken out of context. I was actually talking about the government and how they put people in these situations. They don't give them opportunities for education or birth control. I think everyone should have the same opportunities that we do in America, but there are a lot of corrupt governments in the world and it's heartbreaking to see the [effects of that]. I was actually voicing my passion and anger toward the government, and it made it sound like I was being insensitive toward the people, which couldn't be further from the truth.

TVGO: But you understand why your comments offended so many people?
Yes, and I can't be mad at the editors because we signed up for this. It's drama, it's TV and [by signing up] we said, "OK, you can take us and do whatever you want." I've been to poor areas in South America and the Caribbean, but I've never been to Africa and I've never seen poverty on that scale. It's difficult for people to see so much misery and pain. I'm just a person who voiced it.

TVGO: Freddy, you also had an unflattering moment when you flipped out after getting hit on the head with the gate in Budapest. Do you regret your behavior now?
Yeah, I know it was nobody's fault but my own in the end. They warned us that the gate would be going up and to mind it. It just hurt so bad and I overreacted and embarrassed myself.

TVGO: What — or who — do you credit for your victory?
I am just so madly in love with this woman that I'm willing to do whatever it takes for her. I think that our love for each other was a big momentum-builder; all stress aside, we were doing this for each other and that's really what pushed us over the edge.
Kendra: He is the man of my dreams, and we just have a new level of respect and love for each other since the race. You saw the only tiffs we had throughout the 30 days. The rest of the time we were kissing and cheering each other on. I feel we got along very well.
Freddy: Kris and Jon probably got along better than anybody else, though. They were almost inhuman! We couldn't wait to see it when we got home because it was like, "Did they really get along that well?" And seeing it on TV, it was clear that these people are completely real.

TVGO: If you ran the race over, would you do anything differently?
No, we did a lot of difficult things and I feel like we earned it. And that makes it that much more enjoyable.
Kendra: We had a plan going in and we stuck to it and it worked. Our plan was to just not be last. It wasn't to focus on being first every leg of the race. We just wanted to get through, and then at the very end, we're going to give it a thousand percent. Don't break your neck trying to win a trip to Hawaii or, in our case, Mexico.

TVGO: Speaking of that, have you taken your free vacation yet?
Not yet. We were excited to win the trip, but we go to Mexico for work all the time. I was there twice in December and Kendra was there three times and she's going back next week. So it's a little like winning a trip to our own backyard. [Laughs]