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As the ground announcer broadcast their arrival in the finishing shute a rush of adoring fans — loaded with anything that could take a picture — crowded the exit.
Once whisked away to front the media in private, McCaw was thankful for the opportunity to take a breather, before embarking on the challenges ahead involving a 15km bike, 65km kayak and 70km bike to the finish at New Brighton today.
"It was pretty tough today, to be honest," McCaw said.
"I probably wasn’t feeling my absolute best, which made it even tougher. Some days it’s like that. It’s just good we made it."
The rapport between Nicol and McCaw was evident as each praised the other for dragging each other out of the dark spaces that can engulf athletes in moments of doubt on the course.
"It was a gutsy effort out there, mate. It was awesome," Nicol said of his team-mate.
"We pushed each other. It was good. It was one of those days and we just had to keep going with each other. The good news is ... we got here."
As for any trepidations with the kayak stage, McCaw said he had been looking forward to the river stage — before he saw the low flow.
"It will be nice to get on the bike and hopefully we’ll have a wee tailwind," McCaw said.
He said it was a new experience for him to be involved in such a large bunch on the cycle stage between Kumara and Aickens.
"It was something a bit different. But it was quite good hustling along at a pretty good pace."
Nicol said many questioned McCaw’s move into multisport.
"But it’s sport," he said.
"Camaraderie, friendships and you’re having fun out there and you’re meeting people, whether it’s a competitor or marshal. It’s fun. I can see why he does it.
"There’s some fantastic athletes in multisport, but, we just mix it up and have a little fun, and keep ourselves honest.
"I tell you what — today kept us honest. I’ve got full respect for those guys tomorrow who do the whole thing in one day."
Nicol and McCaw finished the first day in sixth place in the two person tandem team section, clocking 6hr 48min 54sec, 1hr 21min behind leader Bender Bros, who clocked 5hr 27min 27sec.