Coast to Coast - McCaws fourth possibly his toughest yet
Richie McCaw’s fourth Kathmandu Coast to Coast experience might just be his most competitive.
The former All Black captain turned adventure racer will take on the tandem section for the third time in a team alongside long-time friend and teammate Rob Nicol, with the pair looking for a complete performance this year after having suffered from nausea and severe cramps during the two previous outings.
Caption Rob Nichol and Richie McCaw reach the end of Day one of the 2020 Kathmandu Coast to Coast
credit the Kathmandu Coast to Coast
The pair will also come up against ‘Wanaka Bob’ McLachlan, who is a renowned paddler and outdoorsman, who is teamed up with well-known multisporter Flavio Vianna to race under the team name New World St Martins as well as former All Black seven’s player Josh Blackie and brother Adam.
“Like every year, we are going out to do our thing and not get too caught up in who else is there, but we are both competitive and there certainly are some talented athletes entered this year,” said McCaw.
“We’d just like to have a year where both Rob and I feel good and healthy at the same time, so we can see how we can actually go.”
McCaw was famously forced to consume baby food two years ago after the 40-year-old fell ill the night before the start of the race while Nichol struggled with cramps in both his calves and quads in 2021.
However, it is all business for Vianna and McLachlan, with Vianna a regular training partner of McCaw’s. McLachlan, one of Richie and Rob's usual Adventure Racing teammates, jokes it’s all about bragging rights! “Richie and Rob are great teammates, but unlike adventure racing where teams are usually made up of four competitors, the tandem only takes two people, so it’ll be them versus us I guess.”
“They’ve done the work to do all the right things, but we won’t let them get away with it”.
“They’re both a bit bigger than Flavio and me so hopefully we can get away from them in the Mountain Run, because I think they’ll have the better of us on the bike, but wouldn’t it be pretty cool if it comes down to a sprint finish at New Brighton!”
Blackie, who won Gold in the Sevens at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, heads back to the event for the second time, having completed the 2-day individual in 2018. “I really enjoyed the experience then and have wanted to come back and have another crack. The Coast to Coast is something that I’ve known about for a fair while and it really is the sort of event that people talk about.”
“I really enjoy the camaraderie and being able to get out and train with some mates for an event like this. So, we will see how we go.”
Blackie worked for Nichol at the Rugby Players’ Association following retirement from a 15-year rugby playing career, which included time at the Blues, Highlanders and Kobe Steelers in Japan.
“Keeping fit is really important to me, otherwise I’m a little worried I’ll start to feel all the bumps and bruises from my playing days.”
“Rob and Richie have a fair bit more experience than Adam and me at this sort of stuff, but it’ll be fun out there keeping each other honest.”
76 teams will line up on the start line of the Tandem section, having to run, bike (on separate bikes) and paddle (tandem kayak) 243 kilometres from Kumara Beach on the South Island’s West Coast to New Brighton beach on the East.