Starting out a new marriage in front of millions of people around the globe isn’t your normal honeymoon, but that’s exactly what Max (@MrMaxBichler) and Katie Bichler (@KatherinBichler) did on The Amazing Race. The newlywed couple stumbled at the beginning of the race, but triumphed toward the end of the 12 legs of the race, bringing home 3 first place finishes in a row leading into the final leg. They weren’t able to overcome the powerhouse team of Anthony and Bates, who took home the grand prize, but they ended up with the 2nd place finish in a race around the world. The Yak got a moment to sit down with the newlyweds today to discuss what married life holds next for them.
The Yak: It was a close call at the end of the race last night. It was tough to watch, but I have to commend you on making it to the Final 3. Very few teams get the opportunity to race all the way from start to finish, so congratulations on that accomplishment.
Katie: Thank you!
The Yak: Obviously, you didn’t have a “normal” honeymoon by any means, but how did you enjoy the race and have you been able to take a regular honeymoon since you finished the race?
Max: No, we haven’t yet. We decided that we’d watch the race through in it’s entirety, and then we’re going to go away for our 1-year anniversary instead. It was probably the most public honeymoon that anybody’s ever taken, and we invited all of America to come along with us, so it was definitely interesting.
The Yak: Max, in the beginning of the last episode, you mentioned that you were concerned with beating Mona and Beth. Why did you think they were such strong competition, and do you regret how you played that last U-Turn?
Max: No, I think it was Bates and Anthony that said their greatest competition was Mona and Beth because Katie and I knew that our biggest competition was Bates and Anthony. Although we were friendly with Bates and Anthony and Caroline and Jen, and we like them all as people, Katie and I were there to win and we had planned on U-Turning Bates and Anthony in Scotland if we would have gotten there first. We didn’t get there first, and we arrived after them, so at that point, it was time to U-Turn whomever was in the back and buy yourself some insurance in case you get a flat tire or something along the way. We knew all along that Bates and Anthony were going to be a problem for us, but we never had a chance to get rid of them because in Vietnam, the U-Turn was pretty much an impotent U-Turn there because Dave and Conner had already eliminated themselves that morning, so we didn’t want to waste our U-Turn on that.
The Yak: Was was the biggest obstacle or fear that you overcame while you were on the race?
Max: I think learning how to race and be married at the same time. There’s a huge learning curve on the race, and the longer you’re in it, the better you get at it. Maybe we were getting better at the marriage thing, and we were also getting better at the racing thing at the same time, but that’s the biggest obstacle right there. Having two things that you’re trying to nurture at one time.
The Yak: What was your favorite place to visit?
Katie: It’s hard to pick just one place that’s my favorite because everything was so different, culturally. We loved Switzerland. That was awesome. Bora Bora was the most tropical paradise you could ever imagine. Those would be my top two.
Max: If we were going to take a honeymoon, we had considered Bora Bora initially, and we definitely confirmed our suspicion. It made us want to go back there. For a honeymoon, I don’t think you could beat it. It’s absolutely the most gorgeous place I’ve seen on this earth.
The Yak: What was the toughest challenge that you faced on the race?
Max: The most difficult was probably Cheese Hill, maybe.
Katie: Yeah, Cheese Hill was hard.
Max: Physically, Cheese Hill was probably the most difficult and demanding thing we did. We did pretty well, but it was really hard. I remember climbing up the ladder with the 50-pound wheels of cheese, and Katie looked at me and said, “Do you got this?” I said, “I think so,” and she said, “Good for you!” I thought was going to puke because I was so gassed and so winded. You have to remember, we were at elevation as well, so it compounded everything. Physically, that Switchback may have been the most demanding of all of them.
The Yak: Would you consider doing Amazing Race again or another reality type show?
Max: Yeah! Katie and I, in coming as close as we did to winning, all we think about now is an All-Star season or “Unfinished Business” because we feel like just when we started to get really good at the race and figure it out, that’s when it ended for us. We really think about it pretty much daily. Katie is also a huge reality fan, and I think Katie would go for just about anything else, reality-wise. [Katie laughs] I know she’s been pushing me toward some other shows, too, so we’ll see. You only get 15 minutes of fame with the race, but if it turns into something else, it’ll be awesome. If people liked us and they’d like to see more of us on something else, then that’d be a great compliment. If they hated us and they want to see more of us because they hate us so much, that would be just as good of a compliment.
The Yak: Just as long as they’re talking about you, right?
Max: Exactly! Just like Yogi Bera said, ” Half of them will hate you, half of them will love you, and the other half won’t know who you are.”
The Yak: Was there anything that really caught you by surprise while you were on the race? Maybe something you weren’t expecting before you went into it?
Max: Yeah, for me, it was how hard the race was, physically, with the travel. You’re not sleeping in a hotel bedroom, you’re sleeping on a beach or an airport floor or in a tent or a hammock, so that was the thing that caught me most by surprise. It’s just so hard on the body, and you see why people make really poor decisions, like when the clue said to take a train and they take a cab. You’re watching at home with a bag of potato chips, and you’re like, “Oh, you dummy! How could you be so stupid?” Well, you’re so stupid because you haven’t slept in a bed in 4 nights, you haven’t had a shower in 5 days, and you’re probably starving, so that’s like the trifecta right there.
The Yak: That seems to be the consensus amongst the teams. It’s much tougher than you expected it to be before going into the race.
Max: I think everything translates well over the television, except for that part of it. You don’t see me on a plane for 17 hours, you see a yellow line darting from Zurich to Botswana. It’s definitely much harder, and I know that Phil told all of us on Day 1 at the starting line, he said, “For some reason, everybody says at the Pit Stop on the first leg, it’s much harder than it looks. I don’t know why everyone thinks it looks so easy.” I just don’t think it translates to really show how difficult it really is.
The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race once you found out you had been selected?
Katie: To prepare, we did a lot of homework on the past challenges, including every possible thing, like watching everyone’s exit interviews to see if they would have packed something differently or do something differently, so I definitely did my homework in that sense. Physically, we did cross fit, we ran with backpacks on, we did everything you possibly could to prepare.
Max: You could always do more, but we felt very physically prepared for the race, and mentally, we were pretty sharp. We knew capitals. We knew different flags. I think we felt very prepared going in, but nothing can really prepare you other than running it once. There’s too many unknowns out there, and it’s hard to say what you’re going to do when you’re under so much anxiety and so much stress. You can’t prepare yourself for that.
The Yak: What’s next for the both of you?
Katie: We’ve gone back to our normal lives. Everything is business as usual. We’re back to work.
Max: We’re waiting for the phone to ring, so help us by getting the phone ringing. We’ve got nothing right now, but we’re waiting for any opportunity that might happen.
The Yak: We’ll get the word out for you! Thanks for talking with us!
Max: Thank you!
Katie: Thank you, Yakkity Yaks!