The "Ring Girls and Friends" became the first team eliminated from the around-the-world competition out of 11 teams after they arrived at the Race's first Pit Stop at Reykjavikurtjorn in Reykjavik, Iceland in last place. Dessie and Kayla lost by only a matter of seconds in a footrace to the Pit Stop against "Friends and Goat Yoga Instructors" April Gould and Sarah Williams.
The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan greeted the girls at the lakeshore and delivered the bad news that they would not be able to continue racing.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Dessie and Kayla talked about their short-lived The Amazing Race experience and what went wrong during that first leg in Iceland. Below is the first half of what they had to say.
Reality TV World: Heading to the Pit Stop, could you see all of the other teams waiting there? Did you realize you were fighting to avoid last place at that point?
Dessie Mitcheson: I think we knew we were in the bottom group because we were with the yoga girls [April and Sarah] running, but I couldn't see any of the other teams. I don't even know if we can talk about that, though.
Kayla Fitzgerald: Yes, we definitely knew because the parking spots, there were only two left, so we knew that we were down to the wire between us and the yoga moms. At one point running, I did see what I thought was the Pit Stop, but I wasn't 100 percent sure. And then we ended up taking a longer route, which I think eventually cost us getting through this. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Do you have any idea what the time gap was between the first place team and you girls once you arrived at the Pit Stop? If not, do you think you were at least minutes or hours behind them?
Dessie Mitcheson: I think we arrived -- we were, like, fifth when we had to drink the shots, and we just drove around for an hour because we couldn't find the assigned parking.
Kayla Fitzgerald: Yeah, I heard [Jessica Graf] say it last night in the episode, that everything -- all the street signs looked like the same colors as The Amazing Race signs, so it was really difficult because we kept going in circles thinking that we found it and then we couldn't find it, and there were multiple one-way streets after each other that were definitely confusing and frustrating.
But we finished the Roadblock in sixth place, I think, so when we got there, the first thing that we saw was the Icelandic Strong People, so we thought at that point, we were in really good shape. But then we couldn't find the parking, so that was essentially our downfall.
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Reality TV World: Phil said one footstep separated you from last place. Looking back, could you have run any faster or do you think you gave that last sprint everything you had?
Dessie Mitcheson: Yeah, I think Kayla and I, what they didn't show on the show but they showed on YouTube, Kayla was on that mat for sure. She was the first one out of the four of us on that mat. Killed it! I however, had a little bit of a problem that they didn't show on the show.
Reality TV World: (Laughs) Sounds like it. So how disheartening or frustrating then was it for you to go out the way you did, during the first leg and after such a close footrace? I know you girls wanted more time to prove yourselves.
Kayla Fitzgerald: I think Desi and I both agree it was really disheartening. You know, I think the one thing that everyone going into the Race is thinking is, "Don't be eliminated first."
But I think we can both agree that we were definitely on the most competitive season and we fought hard! When it came to the challenges, we killed it. We were in sixth place. We beat teams that were men way stronger than us.
So I think it was disheartening to go out the way we did, but we definitely gave it our all and were on the most competitive season of The Amazing Race. So what can you do?! (Laughs)
Dessie Mitcheson: Yeah, and I think we also both agree that if we didn't come in last the first episode, we would've just gotten better and better with each leg of the Race, because you kind of learn how it goes the first episode. So I think we would have done better the second leg.
Reality TV World: After landing in Iceland, you appeared to get lost driving to the waterfall where Kayla traversed over the river to retrieve a flag. What happened there and how long were you lost for?
Kayla Fitzgerald: Yeah, I think actually we thought we were lost -- because we lost all the other teams -- but we actually ended up getting there in a decent amount of time. We were there -- we were the fifth team coming onto the traverse, so I mean, we were the fifth team there. So essentially, we thought we were lost, but we didn't do too bad!
Dessie Mitcheson: Yeah, we stopped and asked, like, two people for directions, but we made it there in really good time. So even we were surprised when we saw that we made it there in fifth place.
Kayla Fitzgerald: I think we both saw a rainbow and I was like, "I think we are in this, Desi! I think we're okay, we can do this! We've got this."
Reality TV World: So did you get lost for a significant period of time at any other point during this leg, or did you come across any other issues other than the parking at the end?
Dessie Mitcheson: I think [parking] was definitely the worst part because we made it to the final area really, really fast. And we saw all the other teams running to find out their next clue to go meet Phil. So that was the hardest part, the most frustrating part. It's just because we couldn't find the parking!
Kayla Fitzgerald: Yeah, that was the only thing that really, kind of, set us apart. What cost us the Race was the end when we couldn't find the parking. Everything else, we navigated pretty well to because we stopped to get directions from the same person. So we were actually doing pretty good on that, but then we couldn't find that marked parking. The marked parking killed us.
Reality TV World: Dessie, tell me about the Roadblock task in which you had to arrange the letters. How many attempts did it take for you to complete the task and did you struggle with the same aspects of the task that Conor Daly and Shawn Marion seemed to on TV?
Dessie Mitcheson: I actually (laughs) wish they showed more of that, because I actually did pretty well. I did it in like three or four times, and actually, [Brittany Austin], the lifeguard, told me that she copied my answer and that's how they got ahead of us! So we actually did good at the Roadblock.
Kayla Fitzgerald: We did well in the challenges, and I think that's the most disheartening part of all of it, is it's the stupid things that get you.
Reality TV World: Watching the episode back last night, did it surprise you that Cody Nickson finished the Roadblock task in first place? Given Cody and Jessica were on Big Brother, do you think teams underestimated them -- or the exact opposite, that people viewed the couple as a threat right away?
Kayla Fitzgerald: I think everyone kind of viewed them as a threat right away. Jessica is a fit girl and Cody, we obviously knew he's a Marine, so we did think they would be a threat right off the bat. And we were planning to align ourselves with them.
Dessie Mitcheson: Yeah, when I saw Cody did that challenge and got it done first, I was like, "Wow, that's awesome!" And they just got off from doing challenges on Big Brother. They really had no time in between, so that adrenaline and that pressure, they're coming off from doing all that, so I think they had a big advantage.