Occasional tantrums aside, Colin and Christie were probably the strongest team to run this season of The Amazing Race, finishing first six times over the course of the contest. Still, certain unpleasant incidents (the "I'm packin' it!" comment, anyone?) overshadowed their achievements. Here, the newly engaged couple tries to set the record straight about their real life versus what you saw on reality TV.
TV Guide Online: Congrats on your engagement. How long had you been planning that stunt, Colin?
Colin: I planned it during the race because I knew we'd be doing The Early Show, either after we got eliminated or at the end. For a while, I was thinking about doing it at the finish line, but I didn't have the bling. You can't propose empty-handed. So I decided to wait, and it ended up being a blessing in disguise because proposing on national TV means you don't have to call the whole family — they all find out at once. The other nice thing is that everyone thinks we're in this crazy relationship, so at least it shows that we are in a very wonderful and loving relationship. And it's something we can tell the grandkids about.
TVGO: Considering you started the final episode in last place with no money, a second-place finish is pretty good.
Colin: You can't really say we started from fourth place, though, because on every leg, everyone matches up. So as soon as we were on equal footing again, we went from first place to second place. Really, the leg was running Canada. We had a roadblock [task] that was completely cut out, where we had to build a teepee.
Christie: And all that clothing you saw us put on before climbing the mountain? We had to pick those up at three different stores in Banff. It was a scavenger hunt to find those stores.
Colin: First, we had to go from a bus in Calgary and sign up for different bus charters. We were the first ones to the bus and then we were first to the three stores, first to complete the teepee roadblock, first to the top of the mountain, first to complete the Detour and first to the airport. That's a leg of The Amazing Race right there; the Calgary airport would legitimately have been the finish line. If it were a normal leg of the race, we would have beaten Chip and Kim by three hours getting into the airport and that ended up being the key thing for them.
TVGO: Do you regret your decision to go to the hotel instead of waiting at the airport?
Christie: The thing is, you're not allowed to sleep in the airports in Canada. That's why we went to the hotel. And at the time we were there, the American Airlines flight was the obvious choice. United left three hours later and it had a layover in Denver. And if there is going to be a delayed flight, you're assuming it's going to happen to all the airlines. You're just not thinking about it.
Colin: I should have been.
Christie: Don't beat yourself up. Even though Chip assumed that Colin would think about it, why would you really? The American flight was the obvious choice. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. And the truth is, if the flights were closer together, we would have [booked both]. It would have been the natural thing.
TVGO: You reached Dallas only 10 minutes behind Chip and Kim. Did you ever get close to catching up to them?
Colin: We probably could have made that time up, but what they don't show is that we got a flat tire on the way to the stockyards. So that held us up for about 20 minutes.
Christie: We made up time on the maze and in traffic because our driver drove on the shoulder. Unfortunately, he got the blowout — and that's probably what did us in, not the delayed flight. It was kind of anticlimactic running to the finish line, because we knew that we were in second place. They would have had to make a major mistake for us to end up beating them.
Colin: We knew we were 35 minutes behind them at least. We made up probably 20 of that, so I think we came in 15 minutes behind them. It just wasn't meant to be. But if we had won, I don't think we would have gotten that edit. I'll say it — we were the nicest team on the race. We helped every single team, but they don't show it.
Christie: We constantly shared information with the other teams and helped them — we were buying people's tickets! You wouldn't know this from watching TV but Colin is very naive in the sense that he is very trusting. He would be horrible on Survivor. I think the smartest thing Chip and Kim did was realize Colin was that way. We could have screwed over teams so often, because they were putting all that vulnerability in our hands.
TVGO: When did you realize that you'd be portrayed as the villains?
Colin: In the first episode, when they make it look like we took Dennis and Erika's cab. We were actually in a complete alliance.
Christie: We called [a production person] and asked why they did that. And that's when we learned that we'd be getting a very skewed edit — especially Colin. I think that, in the beginning, they were expecting us to be that alpha-male team they didn't have this season. When they didn't get it, they had to start getting creative. And Colin can blow up. That's why it was so easy for them to pick on him. Other teams get frustrated, but once you get to the point where you're saying, "I'm packin' it!" [they] can take out everything else leading up to it and make you look like a total psycho.
TVGO: What other moments didn't quite mirror reality?
Christie: I'll give you an example with me. In the second-to-last episode, just after we were yielded, we get in a car and you see me say, "It's OK, run them over." And then there's a shot of random pedestrians on the side of the road. I'm actually saying this to a production car that's in front of us. The guy driving our jeepney didn't understand — he's actually slowing down. So I'm getting frustrated and I say, "They'll follow you, you don't need to slow down. Ignore them. It's OK, run 'em over if you have to." Next thing you know, I'm saying it about innocent people on the side of the road and it's the name of the episode!
TVGO: Has it been difficult to watch yourselves on the show?
Colin: The last 12 weeks have been the hardest 12 weeks of all the time we've been together.
Christie: It's kind of sad because the five weeks of running the race was the best five weeks of our lives. And, of course, first impressions are so powerful and everybody believes what they see on TV. All of our friends and family think it's funny, because they're not influenced. My mom is never going to think I'm a submissive girl. I've already had two boyfriends calling me and going, "Uh, that's not the Christie I know." But you get all these pity eyes and it gets tiresome at the end of the day. It's one thing to explain things you did do; it's another to be trying to take up for yourself and your best friend for things you didn't do.
TVGO: Colin, have you patched things up with Mirna? It looked like you were getting along at the Emmys.
Colin: I'll tell you, that was the first time I've seen or spoken to her since the show. It's not like we talk. But I'm not one to harbor a grudge. I get over stuff so fast. I still wouldn't pick her to be the person to go to dinner with, but I can be civil.
TVGO: Finally, is there anything you would do differently if you were to run the race over again?
Colin: I wouldn't do anything differently. Except that I just wouldn't speak. [Laughs]