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Amazing Race's Misti and Jim: We Succumbed to Pressure

What surprised them the most?

Joyce Eng

Misti and Jim fell short of not only winning The Amazing Race, but their goal of setting the mark for most leg victories in a single season. Though they won a season-leading five legs, the dentists also made some pretty big blunders along the way, which they attribute to pressure. "It was a relief to have it over with because we felt a lot of pressure," Misti tells TVGuide.com. "There was such an expectation, at least with our close friends and families, for us to win. The prior episodes were a lot more fun, obviously, because we were winning most of those!" Check out what else they have to say about the final leg, the two biggest things that surprised them and more.

8 amazing secrets from The Amazing Race start line

What was it like watching the episode?
Jim: We were waiting for it to be over. I was dreading that episode ... because it's a black cloud that's been hanging over us for six months, coming in second. Now that it's over, we don't have to keep any more secrets.

If it's any consolation, Phil predicted you'd be in third.
[Laughs] Yeah, he also predicted that Scotty and Mike would be in first!

Yeah, he didn't do too hot. How far behind were you in the end?
It wasn't as close as it appeared on TV. You kind of lose perspective of time. It was probably 30 minutes behind Amy and Maya, and Adam and Bethany were probably the same amount of time behind us. ... There was a spread, even though for dramatic effect it looked a lot closer.

Misti, how long did you spend doing the Roadblock, especially since you had to give your answer multiple times?
The challenge itself I only did once and I only had to correct my numbers one time. It took hours because you weren't allowed to write everything down. ... A couple of the cities on the containers may have had the same number. ... It wasn't like nine cities with numbers one through nine. It was a very difficult task. It was harder for me to find the last container than to memorize. Unfortunately, it was a very obvious container!

It was half memory, half needle-in-a-haystack.
Yeah. Some of the containers had the writing much smaller. The one I had trouble with was London, and it was glaring. We had been out there for hours. The stress of that is on you. You can't see the forest for the trees. I know Jim said to Adam, "How long have we been here? Four, five hours?" It was probably like two and a half hours. You're not concerned with time because it doesn't matter as long as you see the other teams.
Jim: Misti had that error on her paper. She corrected it immediately. Between those submissions, it was only about a minute spread. Her real issue was she couldn't find one of the containers. [The correction] didn't take as long as it seemed.

Amazing Race's Amy and Maya: We're a "great underdog story"

Was it deflating seeing Amy and Maya finish and leave? You called them "low-hanging fruit" and had there been an elimination last week like there usually is, they wouldn't have been in the final at all.
It was hard seeing them leave. From the time we went to LA to interview to the end of the race, I never saw anything in my mind other than victory. I just visualized it over and over. To know we were fighting for second, it sucks. But we got outperformed on Leg 12.

Do you think your early navigation issues affected you? You were able to catch up.
It was probably a 10-minute mistake total. I had a map and I knew where city hall was, and we missed the turn onto the interstate. ... What they didn't show was after that, we pulled off at the exit to get directions, [the town] was like a factory district. There was nobody. We probably could've saved five minutes if we had stopped and gotten directions at city hall. But a lot of times you get directions and they you get in the ballpark and you have to stop and get directions again, I figured we would head on down there first. It backfired a little. Ultimately, we arrived at the final challenge around the same time. ... The navigation errors were inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

You were really intense, really good racers, but you also made some big mistakes. What do you attribute that to? Stress?
My two big surprises were, I felt like attention to detail would be our strong suit. Challenges like the park set-up in Copenhagen, when I watch it on TV and see contestants missing what's so obvious, I'm screaming at the TV.

We all do that.
Right! I thought attention to detail was something we would excel at. ... And it was surprising to me that we succumbed to pressure as much as we did. I don't feel like we were people who crumbled under pressure. The first three victories were all by over an hour. ... We blew people out. When we got ahead, we thought we'd pull away. Even in the second leg, Kym and Alli were seconds ahead of us at the punting ... and I asked them [for help]. I would never defer to Kym and Alli for anything in real life. Why do that on the race? A part of it is I saw them doing it. I feel like when we got under pressure, we made more mistakes. In Copenhagen, when things started going wrong, we completely unraveled. Most of our mistakes were succumbing to pressure. I would never have thought that before.

You guys never got completely discouraged. You were still confident and maintained that you were going to win, and you wanted to beat Dave and Rachel's record of most leg wins.
We thought we had the ability to do that. We knew that the Express Pass was in play or it would be difficult to beat that. We had won half of all the legs at that point. There was no reason for our confidence to diminish. We had this lofty goal. ... If you fall between your reality and that really lofty goal, you can find happiness there. We would have loved for the record, but no one performed like we did. ... We knew we were the most efficient team.

Everyone on the race knew that, which makes it more crazy that you didn't get U-Turned.
Yeah. Adam and Bethany, on Leg 9, we were last all on a tugboat to figure out who might do the Fast Forward. They said to us, "We can do the Fast Forward or we can go head to head with you. We'd rather go for the Fast Forward." When they read it was a surfing challenge, it was a no-brainer. It could've been race suicide, but if I had read a clue that said you have to drill teeth, no question, I would go! [Laughs]
Jim: As far as confidence, either you think you can or you can't. ... If you don't think you're going to win, you're already defeated. It was important for us to keep a positive perspective. ... When I said my goal was to beat to Dave and Rachel's record, it was. I didn't think it was a practical goal. I went in thinking we had a 50 percent chance of winning and a 10 percent chance of beating their record, but that doesn't mean that's still not our goal. I said to the producers before the race, "If we run the race 100 times, we're going to win it 50. The other teams were going to split the other 50." I felt like we were that strong, but we all know you're one bad decision, one bad cab ride from elimination. We went in confident, but we had a realistic perspective. That just doesn't play well on TV.

Check out our recap of The Amazing Race finale

I really like your code names Molar and Cuspid. Do you call each other that in real life?
[Laughs] Oh my God! No. We were goofing off there, pretending like we were undercover. It was silly. We never do that at home. Our kids might think we've gone off the deep end if we call each other teeth!

The Amazing Race returns Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 9:30/8:30c with a special 90-minute episode before moving to its regular timeslot Friday, Feb. 27 at 8/7c on CBS.

Check out our behind-the-scenes footage from the Season 25 start line.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)