After having being spared elimination twice on The Amazing Race, Bill and Cathi Alden knew their time was up when they lost an hour trying to find the homing pigeon location in Belgium. "We had so much trouble trying to find the wall and we couldn't imagine that another team had that much difficulty after they located the pigeons," Cathi tells TVGuide.com. "We were pretty sure we were last. It was so dark and late by then." But getting lost wasn't the only factor in their elimination. See what else they think contributed to their demise and how they stay in such great shape.
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Did you do the pigeon task? They didn't show you doing it.
Cathi: We got there and it was so dark that they didn't release the pigeons. They just gave us a card of the address of where the pigeon would be. That was just [more confirmation] that we were last.
Do you know how much time you lost trying to find the pigeons?
Bill: Probably an hour. We got there very late. The signage near the town — I don't know if someone turned the sign slightly or what — but that took us nearly half an hour, running back and forth. We went to the wrong spot on the wall, so some nice young kids directed us to the right end of the wall. It was so dark that we ended up going around the wall and finally we found the clues down below, which some of the teams drove up and spotted immediately. It helped to have a little sunlight. It took us quite awhile. Once we had that, we were able to head back to Brussels pretty fast. We lost enough time. We hadn't seen any other team. We figured it was about the end.
Why was it so hard to find the place?
Cathi: It was a very small place, but the actual wall is a fence kind of thing that goes around a small peak. It just meanders and it's clear on the back of the town. People would say, "You go here, you go here, you go here," but really, you had to be at exactly the right spot.
Bill: Also the roads don't go straight, so pretty soon you're headed back the way you just came and you're in more trouble. The people are nice and know the terrain pretty well, but they don't understand that when they say this, it doesn't make sense to you. You're taking the first street that turns off and they mean the main street that turns off way up the hill.
You seemed to have trouble with self-navigation. You lost time heading to Legoland last week and now this.
Cathi: I wouldn't say that we were bad at navigation in that we never went the wrong way on the freeway ever. We were very cautious, maybe too cautious. We stopped and asked probably more often than maybe some of the other teams. The other thing is, looking back, we weren't as aggressive in our driving as we probably should've been. In other words, we really did take them at their word when they said to go the speed limit. I think some of the other teams were more aggressive in their driving and could make up any error time. We just kind of kept it at the speed limit the whole time. Maybe if we had driven faster, we could've caught up with someone. We had great luck in Copenhagen with the directions and the driving, but no such luck here.
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Why weren't you more aggressive?
Cathi: We're pretty rule-bound. When they say "go the speed limit," we go the speed limit. If we were to do it again, we wouldn't go the speed limit. [Laughs] We'd speed and if we get a 10-minute penalty, whoopee! Because you've made up those 10 minutes.
Bill: In total, it was almost 1,000 kilometers of driving. We'd been in Europe a number of times, but we always used mass transit, so as far as the driving goes, I wasn't accustomed to it, so I didn't push it. We could've made up a lot of time in that manner. We got directions that weren't easily understood, so when you ran out of what you understood, you stopped and asked again.
After being almost goners the first leg, how did it feel to make the final five?
Cathi: We were grateful for every moment. To have [been saved by] two non-elimination legs? We were extremely grateful for the first non-elimination because we had such a difficult time finding the board. So after that, it was like, "Do the best you can, enjoy every minute" and we did. Before the race began, the philosophy was "most of you will be eliminated," so you go in knowing that and knowing you're taking a huge risk exposing yourself. But it was definitely worth it.
How do you keep in such great shape? I think everyone wants to look as good as you guys do in their 60s.
Cathi: [Laughs] Did you like how the bodybuilder noticed that?
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They paid you more compliments than they did any other team.
Cathi: I know! We work out, probably four to six times a week. We've done it for years and years. It's not something we did two or three months [before the race]. It's a lifestyle for us. We do it because we want to live as long and as happily and as healthy as we can.
Cathi, you kept falling down. How many bruises did you get?
Cathi: I was covered with bruises after the rice patty. There were no real injuries at all. My balance isn't very good to begin with and we neglected to take our backpacks off, so the weight would shift and I would fall.
Bill: She also managed to get some beauties hanging onto the elephant. You kept going up and down on that, and she got her arms bruised up trying to hang on.
Cathi: Afterward, I asked the cameraman if he would put the falls together [in a montage] for me because it was just hilarious!
What are you up to now?
Cathi: We are going to New Zealand in two and a half weeks. Our daughter's husband is from New Zealand, so our whole family is going there for Christmas. It's summer there, so to leave Oregon and to go to New Zealand will be great.
View original Amazing Race's Bill and Cathi: We Were Too Cautious on the Road at TVGuide.com
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