The "Dating Couple" on the show and "Yale Debating Teammates" came close to winning the $1 million grand prize but fell short after they had traveled more than 29,000 miles through nine countries and crossed the finish line in San Francisco, CA, after Jessica Graf and Cody Nickson.
Jessica and Cody walked away champions, and "Retired Professional Skiers and Friends" Kristi Leskinen and Jen Hudak placed third. Finally, "Friends and IndyCar Drivers" Alex Rossi and Conor Daly finished in fourth place.
"I think we're obviously a little disappointed about second place, but I'm so proud of us for making it this far," Evan said at the end of the Race. "We'll be okay, and we know how to take away all of the wonderful memories and positives that you can get from an experience even if you don't get the result."
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Henry and Evan talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half of what they had to say.
Reality TV World: How long after Jessica and Cody do you think you crossed the finish line? And then how long after you did Kristi and Jen finish?
Henry Zhang: If we remember correctly, behind Cody and Jess it was really, really close. I think the show even said last night, it couldn't have been more than a few minutes.
And it really was, because when we were at the [plane] puzzle, Jess got it, and it was in that moment I also realized what the answer was, so I put the answer down right then, as she was running there, I'll point out.
And then between Kristi and Jen, I don't remember how much time it was, but I think we were waiting there for a while until Jen eventually got it and came to the mat.
Reality TV World: Henry, we saw last night you had actually put your plane together correctly but then, at the last second, you changed a couple of pieces around before getting it checked. When did you realize that happened, that you were so close to finishing first? Did you find out that day or maybe just from watching the episode back?
Henry Zhang: So that was definitely super heartbreaking to see. To be honest, I didn't realize in the moment. Watching the episode was when I saw that combination at that time for the first time.
I really, at the time, wasn't sure. I thought that had to be wrong because I was trying to check them methodically each time. Anyway, there was also a chance I don't remember it well because it was like at three in the morning.
Reality TV World: How frustrating was that for you, Henry, and what made the task so difficult? What were you missing or overlooking? And Evan, what was it like to watch your partner struggle through that task knowing you couldn't help him?
Henry Zhang: I guess I could say for me, let's see, part of the task that was hard was that it was at the end of a very long race and a very long leg. So at this point, we had been racing for several hours and it was very, very early in the morning.
But for the task itself, I think we both realized -- and what I realized -- was that the task was a pretty quick one. It was just making the right combination that was difficult, like some of the icons just didn't make sense to me. For example, the magnifying glass for a [previous] Roadblock was difficult for me to recognize.
Evan Lynyak: Well, he was at such a distance from me that I honestly had very little idea of what was happening at all. It was definitely frustrating to not be able to approach him or help him, but I was confident the whole time that he would do as absolutely good of a job as possible.
We got to the puzzle significantly later than all of the teams, so the fact that he finished within, you know, a minute of one of the teams who had beaten us there by such a margin I think only confirms what I knew, which was that he would do an amazing job.
And beyond that, there's nothing more you can really hope for or ask for, so I was confident in him the whole time and also perfectly happy with the way that it ended up.
Reality TV World: How much studying had the two of you done prior to that final leg? And Evan, based on your knowledge of the previous legs, do you think you would've been as confident going into that plane task as Henry had been?
Evan Lynyak: We had always discussed Henry doing the memory challenges just because I think he's slightly stronger in that area. We had studied a great deal in between every leg, and to be honest, the one icon he struggled with -- speaking with the other teams after it -- pretty much nobody had any idea what it was, which was the magnifying glass, which represented [the Czech Republic] leg.
I was the one who did that particular Roadblock, and the magnifying such was such a minute moment. It was nothing we held or touched or interacted with. I didn't even notice it because it came out after I was already told that my answer had been correct.
Since the Roadblock was over, I don't think that I would've done a better job than Henry did. And I was the one who theoretically had a better memory of what that was supposed to represent.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Cody and Jessica earlier today, Cody had a strong suspicion you copied Jessica's plane once she finished hers, which would explain how you arrived at the finish line so quickly after them. Is that true?
Henry Zhang: I don't think so. I had the right combination apparently earlier. We had just been at that task for so long that I was getting towards the end of possible combinations that I could try based on the strategy I was using to try to finish that problem.
To be honest, I also think -- and maybe this is a bad thing -- but in the moment, I remember being pretty laser-focused on the task, which some people would kind of call "Race blinders," and when I saw Jessica push away her plane towards Cody and away from us, all I was thinking was, "Shoot!"
Reality TV World: You two were clearly outsiders towards the end of the season. Do you think Big Brother, Indy and the Skiers had a Final 3 pact just because of friendship, or did you think at the time they had some personal issue with you or vendetta against you guys?
Henry Zhang: To be honest, I'm not sure, like, when we personally interacted with them and there was that strong of a presence or dynamic, we clearly knew that they were strong as friends. We didn't get that impression at all. We hung out with the between legs, in the airport, and I thought we got along pretty well.
I think another thing that's true of our racing style is that we really didn't take anything that happened personally, whether it was a U-Turn or something else. Whatever people did, we understood it was a competition. That's what we expected from the beginning.
Reality TV World: I was surprised earlier in the season when Alex and Conor chose to U-Turn you two instead of Kristi and Jen. We know now the two teams were great friends at the time, but do you really think the guys were thinking strategically -- that U-Turning you two was the best move to make?
Henry Zhang: I guess they said something about them thinking we're a strong team, which is if that's what they said, then sure. But at the time, we definitely did not think that was the right decision to make.
At that point, it was pretty clear we had some rough legs, and honestly, every team had them except for Kristi and Jen. We thought they were the strongest team at that point. If you were just using the U-Turn board in the most strategic way possible, then they were definitely the team to target.