‘The Amazing Race’s’ Aastha and Nina reveal what you didn’t see at the rolling task: ‘It was the penalties that killed us’

The Amazing Race 34” introduced a new twist in Wednesday’s season premiere: the Scramble, in which teams are given the locations of three tasks and can complete them in any order to get clues to a puzzle piece to the Pit Stop. The 12 teams were, in fact, scrambling all over Munich, but it was rolling that did in Aastha Lal and Nina Duong. The engaged couple took five tries to roll a beer keg through an obstacle course in under 55 seconds. And even though they left their third task in 11th place, Aubrey and David passed them to the Pit Stop, and with no non-elimination legs this season, Aastha and Nina became the first casualty of Season 34.

Just how far behind were they? And what went wrong with the rolling? Find out below.

Gold Derby: How far behind were you? You were really close at the end there.
Aastha: Three minutes. And it was $333,000 every minute that we lost.
Nina: Did you see Aubrey’s face? She genuinely thought that she was last until we showed up and were like, oh, plot twist!

Gold Derby: That was a good fake-out because Phil [Keoghan] does those fake-outs a lot, but this time he didn’t even tell them because they saw you.
Aastha: Oh, my God, yeah! And Aubrey was telling me after that Phil really made it seem like they were last. He was talking really sadly to them. They literally thought they were last.
Nina: I wish there was a fake-out for us and there was somehow a 13th team. We really wanted that.
Aastha: The only way we would still be in the race is if everyone was over 80 years old. That’s the only way we would’ve won that leg. [Laughs]
Nina: And even then there’s a chance we wouldn’t have.

Gold Derby: Aubrey and David saw you guys arrive. Did you see them at the Pit Stop?
Aastha: Yes, we did, but then they were shooed away so we could have our moment on the mat.
Nina: To have our own tragedy. [Laughs]

Gold Derby: At that point, did you think you were last or were you like, “We have no idea where all the teams are because of the Scramble”?
Aastha: You know what’s hilarious? That’s such a good question. After the sawing and after the ice, I delusionally thought we were in first place because we were doing it so fast. And then we got to the barrels and were like, “Oh, we’re definitely not in first place anymore.”
Nina: So, by the end, FYI, when you’re asked to put those pieces together [for the Pit Stop location], every single racer is asked to park inside this specific area in the street. And I counted every single car and I’m a great counter. I counted all the cars there except for ours and I realized very quickly that we were last. But Aastha was still like, “Yay!”
Aastha: “We’re still in first!” [Laughs]

SEE ‘The Amazing Race 34’ premiere recap

Gold Derby: They showed you finishing your third task in 11th place, so did you get lost to the Pit Stop?
Aastha: You know what happened? And people don’t know this, but every time we did the rolling challenge and we failed, we got a 2-minute penalty, so those 2-minute penalties added up. I think we did it four or five times. We did all the tasks so fast and it was the penalties that killed us at the end of the day.
Nina: And just FYI, Munich traffic, similar to LA traffic, not good. That was something that also added time. But there’s nothing interesting about traffic. It’s just traffic, but that was part of the reason.

Gold Derby: Why did you have so much trouble with the rolling? You had to do it five times and watched all these teams pass you.
Aastha: So Marcus and Michael, the two big military guys — you have to get it in under 55 seconds — and they got it under 54. And they’re giant, muscular guys. We kept getting it at 56 seconds over and over and over again. And I think at one point, it was 55.5 seconds. And they said, “Nope! You gotta do it again!” … And you see how hard it was. For Marcus and Michael to do it in 54 — I’m 5-foot-2, she’s 5-foot-4. We’re tiny lesbians. We’re not the physically, most strong team, so it was just that time that added up.
Nina: Aastha and I also don’t drink, so I’d never interacted with a keg until that moment. If I had been a drinker in college, I would’ve rolled a lotta kegs.

Gold Derby: It sounds like guys had a lotta bad luck there with the timing. Quinton fell and he still finished it in time.
Aastha: Yes, it was a lot of bad luck. Nina’s contacts were drying up too. It was literally just one thing after another. The odds were against us.
Nina: And I think we were too thorough. Aastha and I are very detail-oriented.
Aastha: We’re Asian! We’re Asian kids. We like studying, so we thought we were being thorough, but we were being too thorough.
Nina: Put a standardized test in front of all the racers, I guarantee we would’ve killed it! [Laughs]

Gold Derby: Speaking of thorough, at the beginning, you guys were getting very detailed directions from people. Do you think you spent too much time getting directions?
Aastha: Oh, yeah. It was like two or three minutes extra, but we wanted to be thorough about it. We actually thought we were being smart because we didn’t wanna be out in a field in Munich randomly asking for directions. So we thought it would be smartest to get the directions.
Nina: What’s interesting about the race is sometimes you don’t know. You don’t know what’s coming. You don’t know if the race locations until the end of the day didn’t actually surround you with other people, and that decision would’ve been amazing. But, you know, that wasn’t true. The other two locations, you could find people to ask for directions.
Aastha: Season 33 was all these rural locations. For us to be in a car in the city of Munich, we were like, “Oh, my God!”
Nina: But we should’ve known.

Gold Derby: Did you notice all the other cars passing you while you were getting directions?
Aastha: No. [Laughs] You saw me. I was just chatting up the ladies. I was like, “Hey ladies, where are y’all from?” I was a little too laissez-faire in the beginning and then it hit me later on.
Nina: And I am thorough. Aastha and I are very thorough in our jobs. She’s in operations and I’m in business development, so being thorough is a skill there. Not in “The Amazing Race” when it comes down to this specific context.
Aastha: Also, I’m no longer in operations. I’m trying to be a full-time stand-up comedian. I hope we made you laugh a couple times in last night’s episode.

SEE Everything to know about ‘The Amazing Race 34’

Gold Derby: You did, especially with all the rolling. What do you think of the new twists, the Scramble and no more non-elimination legs?
Nina: Well, what do you think, Joyce? [Laughs]
Aastha: As a viewer, it was so chaotic to watch.

Gold Derby: It was very chaotic to watch. I like knowing where people are.
Aastha: Yes, yes.
Nina: It kind of benefited us because no one really knew what was happening until we were out and then they didn’t really at that point either.
Aastha: To answer your question, we hated it. We hated it because we were so used a specific format for “The Amazing Race” and practiced for that format and we studied so hard for this race. We’ve done rock-climbing, canoeing, plate-spinning, we learned different languages, we learned different dances. We were so prepared for this race and the Scramble really scrambled our brains.
Nina: Yeah, but at the end of the day, still grateful for the overall experience. Loved every minute of it. It was so much fun just being on the set.

Gold Derby: I feel like maybe they did it to discourage teams from working together because that was a big thing a couple seasons ago.
Aastha: Oh, yes. Interesting.
Nina: Hmm, we could probably talk about this forever.
Aastha: But they should bring back non-eliminations. [Laughs] It would’ve been great for us if the first leg was a non-elimination.
Nina: The only leg.

Gold Derby: Did you guys get a chance to get to know the other teams?
Aastha: Oh, yes, we love Abby and Will.
Nina: We call them “Game of Thrones.” That’s what we called them before we knew their names.
Aastha: Because they look like Jon Snow and Daenerys. We love Abby and Will. They’re so sweet and so kind. Derek and Claire live, like, 10 minutes away from us and we’ve become really good friends with them. The twins are just the sweetest.
Nina: And then we watched Team Croqueta’s video, their interview. It’s so good. I encourage everybody to look at it. They’re so funny.

Gold Derby: What are you guys up to now? You just mentioned you’ve changed careers.
Aastha: I’m trying to do stand-up comedy full time now. I’ve been doing it for 10 years, but I think this race was the catalyst for me to follow my dreams. As soon as the race ended, I transitioned out and was like, “Nina, I wanna do comedy full time.” And she’s been so supportive, like, “Go do it. Go chase your dreams.” If you can tell everybody to follow aastha.lal on Instagram, that would help out a lot. [Laughs] I hope last night was a glimpse into comedy and the laughs we could provide. … I was telling Nina, “I pray for two things: I hope I’m a world-famous comedian after this and I hope I win ‘The Amazing Race.’” And God was like, “Hold my beer. You know what would be hilarious? If you were first eliminated.” But it worked out.

Gold Derby: Because of a keg too.
Aastha: Dammit! [Laughs]
Nina: That will always traumatize me. Every time I see a keg now, I’ll be like, “Get that outta my face.” I do training consulting full time. I am a much better consultant than I am a racer, hence the thoroughness. So if anybody is ever interested in hiring training development people, manager development, that is my jam. And then part time, I’m also working on a couple of different startup projects. I’m trying to make a million dollars in other ways, so y’all let me know!

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