Already in last place, Chris and Aleisha arrived at the Detour to see the Cowboys had selected them to complete both tasks, including one where they would have to consume a series of raw eggs.
As they approached the U-Turn, the couple had a muted response as if they had already predicted it would be their faces on the board.
“There was always a possibility, it would have been very small, that someone came to their senses and decided to U-Turn a stronger team,” Chris told 10 play, “but we were pretty certain that, unless we were first on that leg coming into the U-Turn… we would get U-Turned.”
Throughout the race, the ‘Originals’ alliance — made up of Ashleigh and Amanda, Brendon and Jackson, Jaskirat and Anurag, and Skye-Blue and Jake — has become more fortified as they’ve helped each other along the way. With three teams in the alliance still in the competition and Chris and Aleisha the only outsiders, it wasn't a huge shock to see who was selected, but the couple still felt disheartened.
“It was an added worry that the other teams just didn’t have,” Aleisha explained. “They had a social security, they had confidence every leg that they had people who would help them if they struggled.
“They just had that reassurance that no one's actively trying to get them out… we knew there were people actively trying to thwart our game and trying to get us out,” she added.
On top of the fact that the U-Turn would put them even further behind, Chris and Aleisha have also been vegan for several years.
It hasn’t come up much in the race where teams are in a position where they don’t have a choice but to eat meat products or take a penalty, but in an Intersection several legs earlier Chris and Aleisha were paired with the Cowboys in a challenge which required teams to shuck and eat 100 oysters.
In last and second-last, Chris and Aleisha begged the Cowboys to forfeit the task early and take a penalty. The Cowboys refused and attempted the challenge but, ultimately, forfeited the task.
Chris and Aleisha explained that they knew going into the race there would be times where they may have to eat meat products, but they were only going to do so where it made sense to the overall game.
An earlier Detour saw Chris and Aleisha pick a barrel-building task over an arguably easier chocolate-licking task because they knew they had teams behind them and could finish the task at hand.
When it came to the oysters, the pair weighed up a penalty versus how much time it would take for them to struggle through the challenge.
“In the past, we were the worst two teams eating the Weet-Bix,” Aleisha said. “We both took over an hour. And then the Cowboys tried to eat the sausages and they couldn’t do it, they had to quit. Notoriously we were the worst two teams at eating challenges.
“We may as well just take the penalty because they had been anywhere from ten to 30 minutes which was really not a whole lot of time considering we might sit there for an hour and a half trying to eat these oysters.”
The task became even more difficult when Brendon, after trying one oyster, gave up leaving the 99 remaining on Jackson's plate, pushing the teams further and further behind and pushing Jackson closer and closer to a spew bucket.
“We definitely knew we were the last two at the oysters,” Chris said, “it didn’t make a difference either way. We knew there was another challenge coming up and we knew it was just better to get out of there,” he said.
“No one needed to be sick for nothing,” Aleisha added.
The U-Turn, on the other hand, was a different set of circumstances.
“We were pretty sure there were no challenges after [the Detour], it was straight to the Pit Stop,” Chris said, “if we did it quickly we could have overtaken another team.”
Several legs ago, it was safer to gamble with a penalty because Chris and Aleisha knew they could make up time but in this scenario, the pair had to consider what a time penalty could do with just four teams left in the race.
“There was that point where we were like, this is taking so long… all the other teams have finished the race,” Chris said. But he never considered giving up.
“We knew that penalty going into the next leg could be a death sentence,” he added.
Ahead of the task, the pair agreed that only one of them would complete it.
“Only one of us would have to be sick rather than both of us going through it,” Aleisha explained. The hardest part was neither one wanted the other to have to do the task. “I think we scissor-paper-rocked it in the car,” she joked.
The gamble to complete the task paid off for the pair who, when they eventually hit the Pit Stop mat, emotionally and physically exhausted, found out it was a pre-determined non-elimination round.
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