All Blacks legend Richie McCaw is enjoying not being in charge as he competes in the gruelling GODZone challenge.

The former star captain set off on the 530km endurance event yesterday, which will see him and his Team Cure Kids teammates try to conquer New Zealand's great outdoors.

The four-person team - McCaw, Rugby Players' Association boss Rob Nichol, Sarah Fairmaid and Ben Meyer - completed a bike trek through the Richmond Range overnight - in complete silence.

Fairmaid said she tried to chat to her teammates as they went through the Silvan Forest, but got no response.


"We didn't talk at all, they were all mutes," she said.

But Nichol said: "Sarah tried, but we're boys so we don't talk."McCaw said the stage was "pretty good", and he enjoyed it.

"There were some good hill climbs in there."

The team arrived at the transition area at Wairoa Gorge around 2am, before embarking on the next stage of a 52km trek through the Red Hills.

Speaking before the race, the former All Blacks captain said it was refreshing to take a back seat in the team.

"It's completely different, you know, in a good way. It's actually quite refreshing to be the guy focusing on your new learning.

"Hopefully I can contribute to the team, we'll all be taking turns navigating, for example. Being the new boy is actually quite cool."

The team has so far raised $293,000 for children's health charity Cure Kids. Their aim is $350,000.

McCaw's entry to the GODZone adventure race is his first major sporting event since retiring from rugby after leading the All Blacks to Rugby World Cup victory in the UK last year.

In August he is set to travel to Brazil to cheer on fiancée Gemma Flynn as her Black Sticks chase a medal at the Rio Olympics.

The endurance event takes teams through three National Parks, starting and finishing at Kaiteriteri, in the Tasman region.

Competitors trek, mountain bike, canoe, kayak and coasteer through Nelson Lakes, Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks, along ridge lines, the Red Hills, beech forest and the Matakitaki River.

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