How can you tell that The Amazing Race (Tuesdays, 10pm/ET on CBS) has finally graduated from being a cult favorite to a mainstream reality hit? Well, the show's fifth season has garnered consistently high ratings, tons of watercooler buzz and now an honest-to-God feud. In the grand tradition of Richard Hatch vs. Sue Hawk and Omarosa vs. Ereka, here comes Mirna vs. Colin. The two clashed repeatedly during the race, and it looks like the ill will continues off screen. As you may recall, Armenian lawyer Mirna levied the first charge in her August 20 Q&A with TV Guide Online, accusing Colin of making numerous "threats and accusations" against her and her cousin, Charla. In this exclusive interview, Colin answers Mirna's claims and slips in a few digs of his own.

TV Guide Online: In our interview with Mirna, she characterized your relationship as contentious, and some of that certainly came across on screen. Were things that strained off screen?
Colin:
Besides her interruption between myself and the bus-station employee in Patagonia, and when she and Charla unsuccessfully tried to steal our taxi in Cairo, Mirna and I didn't have much of a relationship at all. It was quite clear from the beginning that Mirna did not want to be friends with Christie and me. Although she eventually alienated herself from most of the teams with her "I'm such a victim" attitude, all efforts on mine and Christie's part in the first three legs of the race to be friendly — or possibly form an alliance — proved to be futile. We still didn't have a problem with them until she interrupted us in the bus station and then got mad that we didn't apologize for not allowing her to do so. We decided at that point that Mirna was not a rational person and certainly not someone we wanted to share our time with.

TVGO: How would you characterize the relationship?
Colin:
I think Christie put it best when she described Mirna and Charla as two yapping Chihuahuas continually trying to bite at our ankles and saying: "Look at me! Look at me! I will not be ignored! I will not be ignored!" My personal theory is that Mirna loved the fact that she and Charla were such a strong team, but hated the fact that Christie and I were better. After the second leg, no matter how hard they raced, Christie and I still beat them every time, and this irked the hell out of her. More than anything, though, I think she hated the fact that so many other teams liked working with us. Not only did they like working with us, but they also let us lead. Mirna took it very personally when this same thing was not happening for her. Unfortunately, it's her own fault that most teams steered clear [of them]. I do not like Mirna and I wanted her out, mainly because she is such a difficult person to be around. As far as my thoughts on her as a racer, I didn't [think] any more about her than any other team. There is too much random luck involved to count anyone out. As far as I'm concerned, every team is always a contender.

TVGO: Mirna claimed that you had made threats to her throughout the race. Could this have been a misunderstanding or do you specifically recall any threats being exchanged?
Colin:
No, absolutely not. Beyond the second leg, I barely said three words to her outside of the race. You've already seen every exchange we had during the race.

TVGO: Specifically, she claimed that you threatened to break her legs. Do you remember saying anything along these lines, even as a joke?
Colin:
When I read that, I just had to laugh. That might be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Both at the pit stops and on the race, Christie and I tried to avoid her at all costs. Mirna would continually try to get under our skin by interrupting us or being argumentative while we were in conversations with other teams. Our tactic was to ignore her as best we could. She simply wanted the attention.

TVGO: Is there anything else you'd like to say about how you've run the race so far?
Colin:
Besides the eating challenges, I feel Christie and I are running the race very successfully. Truly, the only thing that could hold us back now is my ability to run my mouth without concern for other people. Fortunately, Christie is a much bigger person than I am and is able to take the high road and be mature enough not to let our problems escalate. She is by far one of the strongest people on the race and I am damned lucky to have her as my partner.