By Darren Franich
May 09, 2011 at 04:26 PM EDT
Monty Brinton/CBS

The Amazing Race had a surprisingly rocky 18th season. The notion of bringing back 11 fan-favorite teams who failed to win their first time around seemed like a great idea in theory, but in practice, the decision to bring back eleven teams that resolutely were not All-Stars meant that longtime Race fans just had to watch some teams make the same old mistakes. (Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: The Cowboys got lost in the cities, the Goths got lost in the countryside, Jaime yelled at taxi drivers, and poor old Mel White just couldn’t keep up with the competition.) Also not helping matters: On the EW comment boards, there was a serious perception that the teams were playing a game that was too friendly, helping each other through challenges in a strategy more befitting that other CBS reality show. (Ahem, Survivor.) Last night’s two-hour season finale featured an enjoyably competitive neck-and-neck race between some of the show’s best players. This morning, EW caught up with the victorious team to talk about winning on their second go-round. Read more after the jump (Warning: Spoilers ahead)

LaKisha and Jennifer Hoffman played the game like a pair of stealth assassins, never coming in first place on any leg… except, of course, for when it really counted at the very end of the race. Jen, for her part, thinks the information-sharing aspect of the this season got needlessly blown out of proportion. “I don’t think you can necessarily go on record as saying that you build alliances in this race. You still have to finish the task, you still have to go through the detours and the roadblocks. Creating alliances aren’t really helpful. This isn’t Survivor.” In fact, one of the more controversial bits of Racespionage — the other teams’ apparent anti-Cowboy alliance in the Liechtenstein episode — was all in the editing. “We weren’t against the cowboys!” says Jen, noting that brothers Jet and Cord are “great Racers.” “There’s no conspiracy theories here,” echoes her sister. “When you build friendships with people you do share information, but there wasn’t a time where anyone felt, like, ‘Okay, this is a time we can’t share.'”

The sisters can only laugh now about what seems in hindsight like their only major misstep of the season — their long period of wandering through Kolkata, when they didn’t realize that their next clue was hidden on the cap of their Snapple bottle. “When they gave us the [bottle], they said, ‘Don’t break it, or you’re gonna have to do this task again.’ And so we were thinking, ‘Don’t break the seal!’ for that whole time we were running around looking foolish.”

The pair are proud that they both managed to triumph over underwater tasks after a swimming challenge proved problematic back in season 14, although Kisha admits that she felt a bit jealous watching her sister’s mermaid-themed challenge last night. “I had sharks swimming over my head, and she gets to listen to music under the water!” “I’m okay with that,” jokes Jen.

The pair have some plans for spending their $1 million reward — Kisha will use it to pay for her graduate school, and both sisters plan to spend some money on their mother, “Maybe buying her a property or something.” Both feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. As Jen notes, “We accomplished something that the Washington Generals are never able to do: We beat the Globetrotters!”

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Read more:

‘The Amazing Race’ season finale recap: Miami Nice

ABC announces cast for ‘Expedition Impossible’ (Yep, it’s another amazing race coming to you in June!)