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The Amazing Race’s Ricky and Cesar Thought They ‘Might Be the Underdogs’ at First

The Amazing Race season 36 champions Ricky Rotandi and Cesar Aldrete didn’t know just how well they’d perform on the reality competition series.

“We knew we put the work [in]. But we also kind of felt we were going in like, ‘Oh, gosh, I think we might be the underdogs,’” Ricky exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, May 16, one day after he and Cesar won the $1 million grand prize during the season finale.

“We see military people, federal agents, police officers, superfans. There are some tough competitors,” he continued. “I think we thought we were going to do well, but I don’t think we realized we were going to do this well.”

Cesar and Ricky never placed lower than third during any leg of the competition and seemed to have some level of familiarity with just about every challenge they faced, whether it was welding, singing or completing an obstacle course while dressed as a mascot.

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The Amazing Race Ricky and Cesar Thought They Might Be the Underdogs
Ricky Rotandi and Cesar Aldrete Yuri Hasegawa/CBS

“My sisters and I, we have this ongoing joke that we have the ‘how hard could it be’ gene. We have the ability to pick up a task and figure it out and do it well,” Ricky said, adding that the “little things” he and Cesar have tried over the years gave them an edge.

“Just as people, we have a vast interest,” he explained. “We’re OK taking ourselves out of a comfort zone. We’ve done archery, we like escape rooms, we like canoeing and kayaking, but we also like the theater and travel and fancy restaurants. There’s a wide variety of things that we enjoy.”

Cesar added that the pair “try to avoid the routine” in their daily lives.

The Amazing Race Ricky and Cesar Thought They Might Be the Underdogs

“We just are always looking for something new. We live in the awesome city that is New York, and there’s something happening all the time, and we just look for those different things,” he said.

As Ricky and Cesar dominated the competition, the stress of the race never seemed to take a toll on their relationship.

“I think we are blessed to have the communication that we have because we’re always at the same understanding. And whenever we’re not, we just figure it out again,” Cesar said.

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“There’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a healthy conversation,” Ricky added. “You can be angry, that’s cool, but you still have to talk through it.”

Ricky and Cesar met online and dated for nine months before making their relationship official during a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

“We were committed, so it didn’t feel like we needed to say, ‘You are my boyfriend,’” Ricky said. “But we were in Puerto Vallarta, it was really cute, and we were on a hammock and swinging or whatever. And he looked over [and said], ‘Will you be my boyfriend?’ It was real sweet.”

The couple spoke on The Amazing Race about wanting to use their winnings to start the expensive adoption process — and that’s still something they plan on doing.

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“It is definitely in the future. I think there’s some things that we want to accomplish first, we really want to travel,” Ricky said. “We really want to figure out a house, kind of build some foundation things first. I love kids.”

Cesar added that they both grew up “with backyards” and are having conversations about how to provide “that structure” and home base for their family.

“It’s almost more feasible now,” Ricky said. “[Winning The Amazing Race] really gives us a bigger chance to make those dreams come true.”

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