Water escapades once again hampered the progress of father-daughter team Gus and Hera McLeod, as navigating the Danube River in a paddleboat slowed them down and led to their last-place arrival in Budapest, Hungary. Though adventure pilot Gus, 50, made quick work of the spicy soup challenge post-paddle, in the end he and Hera, 24, a special education teacher, couldn’t beat fleet-footed models Freddy and Kendra to the finish mat. Gus, from Gaithersburg, Md., and Hera, who lives in Los Angeles, spoke to PEOPLE about how their Amazing Race experience changed their relationship.
Both of you set out to improve your relationship with each other through the Race. How do you think it went?
Gus: I actually thought Hera and I would be at loggerheads every day, but we weren’t.
What moment made you most proud of Hera?
Gus: I’ve always prided myself on being calm and collected no matter how hot a situation got, and to see that Hera displays the same quality, you know that you’ve had an impact, and I guess that’s the greatest moment for me.
Was it fun to watch yourself on TV?
Gus: Oh, it was not! I was really amazed at how much weight I gained and how snippy I could get with some of the other competitors. My daughter always told me I didn’t suffer fools lightly and I guess I saw that in myself.
Gus, how many sips of beer were you actually allowed to have at the beer house in Germany?
Gus: The only beer I got was sipping it (while) delivering it to people, which is kind of rude (of me).
Hera: No, that’s not true. You put it on one table and didn’t give it to anybody.
Gus: Oh, I didn’t give it to anybody? Well, the ones that I picked up and put on one table, I guess I would drink from and then kept going. I wanted to hang out and enjoy the place – it seemed like a lot of fun.
Hera, any fishing or boat trips any time soon?
Hera: I don’t think I’m going to be fishing for a really long time! In Hungary, I was hesitant to get in the boat because I had such a miserable experience in Senegal. I remember thinking in Senegal, “If I don’t die, I’m not getting on a boat anytime soon!”
Gus, you were incredibly moved at the Slave House in Senegal. Were you as moved to see it again?
Gus: Going through a door that your ancestors came through unwillingly – but yet, had they not come through the door, you wouldn’t be here – you kind of get your arms around both of these things and it’s emotional.
Hera: It felt like spirits were there. It almost seemed like they were looking over your shoulder, you know, giving you guidance and telling you what it was like to go through those doors, which was very spooky.
Hera, how did your students feel about watching you?
Hera: The funny thing was when I got back and they saw the first episode, they were laughing for about a week that my name was Hera because I never tell them my first name. They usually address me as Miss McLeod, but now every once in a while one will say, “Hee, hee, hee, Hera!”
Gus, you are back in Gaithersburg, Md.?
Gus: Yes. I am back and my life is back off hold. I’m going to do my second attempt on my last aviation world record. I am going around both poles, solo, in a single-engine airplane. I tried that last January and failed after two crashes, but I am going to try it again and this time hopefully it won’t kill me.