Being the first team eliminated on The Amazing Race hurts. It stings even more for Dana and Adrian Davis, who got booted off the 16th season premiere when Adrian, 40, couldn't complete the Roadblock: walking across a high-wire cable suspended more than 100 feet in the air. "I thought it was possible, but then so much time passed and it felt deserted," Dana, 39, tells TVGuide.com. "We totally identified with Maria and Tiffany [from last season] when they couldn't do the bell or the golf, and it was windy. It was kind of the same thing. Very disappointing. We knew it was probably over." The couple, who were high school sweethearts, also know they might still be in the Race had they stuck to their game plan. Find out what went wrong.
TVGuide.com: Why did you elect Adrian to do the Roadblock? What was the strategy behind that?
Dana: You know what? We put the strategy to the side! [Laughs]
Adrian: Going into the race, we agreed that Dana would do all the height challenges, just based upon my fear of heights, and I would do all the grunt stuff — eating bugs or heavy lifting. That was our strategy. But under pressure — our cab driver got lost and we knew that we fell in our ranking — [that] when we finally got there and saw that people who were behind us were finishing the task, we were like, "OK, make a decision." She picked me and I said OK. We didn't even think.
TVGuide.com: When did you realize that was a bad decision?
Dana: When people who started after him passed him, that's when I was like, "Crap!" We've been under pressure before so many times, but this was like a time pressure. The downside is that sometimes when you're under pressure, you can go back and correct it. We knew after we made the decision, we couldn't do that or we'd incur a penalty. But I would've been the better pick. If you go online, you can see that I did do it. When you know in life that you were the better candidate, if you will, for whatever, it's imperative that you do it. That's what I learned.
TVGuide.com: How long were you there for? When did Phil finally come over to tell you were eliminated?
Adrian: Oh, something like two hours later. We were sitting there, hoping that maybe some folks will make some mistakes and we could overcome this hurdle somehow. Watching the show, people did make mistakes, but you know, it's one of those deals.
TVGuide.com: You got tickets for the first flight, but ended up on the second one after the plane broke down. How much did that affect you?
Dana: I e-mailed Brandy: "Mechanical problems? What kind of witchcraft have you got going on?" [Laughs]
Adrian: When you're an hour ahead, it gives you a sense of relaxation, whether it be false or not. Sometimes you can think you're ahead and you're not, but if you're on the first flight, you know you're ahead. It would've helped because we wouldn't have felt pressured to make a decision. "Oh hey, this is a height challenge. Why don't you do it and knock it out?" Then we'd be on our way and maybe still [be] there. ... But hindsight is always 20/20.
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TVGuide.com: Adrian, how sore were you after attempting that twice?
Adrian: My goodness! I couldn't even close my fists. My forearms were absolutely shot. The guy said to me, "Well, you know, you can't hold on tight when you're going across the cable." But if you tell someone who's afraid of heights to go up that high and not hold on, it doesn't register. How can you not hold on? So I'm holding on for dear life and after going 50 yards, your forearms can't take it anymore, so I didn't have any grip. Also, the beginning of the cable is tight, but it sags when you get to the middle, and you've got the wind pushing you back and forth. I'm telling myself the whole time, "don't look down" because I knew if I did, I would freak out. When my foot slipped off, it was just over.
TVGuide.com: It was great to see you both supportive of each other. How did you each stay calm during that?
Dana: For me, had he not tried it again, I would not have been as calm. When we play baseball, he'd tell the team, "sacrifice the body," so I felt the same thing at that moment — suck it up and do it! He tried it again. By that time, I also knew it should've been me up there, and the finality of it — knowing that you can't do anything else — makes you accept it and move on. Every now and then it's nice to scream and fuss. ... I don't want to give people the impression that we never have arguments, but typically when you have arguments it's because of communication, and at the end of the day, we both knew there was nothing else for us to do.
Adrian: Basically, I love my wife. If it had been her and I knew that she tried her best and couldn't do it, I'm not going to get down on her. Winning or losing doesn't change the way I feel about my wife, and I think I can speak for both of us on that. Our relationship is such that she wouldn't come to me with craziness when she knew I tried.
Adrian: It's back to the grind. I own a surgical instrument company. ... Dana and I also own a portfolio that has several rent properties and we have a bunch of tenants.Dana: For me, I volunteer at YMCA and work with at-risk kids. I do Big Brother and Big Sister, and I coach a lot of those youths to overcome adversity. I also work with women who have often times been abused. ... I love volunteering and coaching and helping others overcome problems, confidence and self-esteem issues.