Now Pip has the zip
By ADRIAN MILLER
TAKING a nine-month break can feel like an eternity for any professional athlete, but for triathlete Pip Taylor it was exactly what the body ordered.
Taylor, 27, will be making only her third race appearance since June last year at the 12th Byron Bay Triathlon on Saturday as she makes her way back on to the international race circuit after a 2006 dogged by illness and injury.
"It was a big break for me, kinda the first decent break I had in eight years," she said.
"I had been ill and tried to push through that, and everything just compounded and got worse and worse."
Taylor, who won the Byron Triathlon in 2003, said the break had allowed her to expand her horizons.
"It was great," she said. "You don't realise how many hours there are in the day (when you're training full-time) so when you stop training and see how many things you can do and stay up past 9 o'clock is good.
"But after a few weeks you see other people out running and riding and wish you were out there as well."
Taylor's return to the racing circuit could hardly have gone any better, with her winning the Triathlon NSW Pro Tour Event at Kurnell in February and finishing second at the Aria Property Group non-drafting professional race in Mooloolaba in March.
After Byron Bay she will head to the United States for the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon, before tackling another nine events in the US and Europe between June and November.
She's still very much in training mode, but the Lennox Head-based athlete said she could not think of a better place than Byron to round off her preparation for the overseas circuit.
"It pretty much goes past my front door so it's very much a home race, which is great," she said.
"I know the area and the course and can sleep in on race day morning, which makes thing easy. "It's definitely a training race but that said, once the gun goes off I still want to do my best, which hopefully means winning."
While Taylor will be out to win the title she definitely won't have it all her own way with 2007 Panthers Ironman Australian Triathlete winner Rebekah Keat competing in her first Byron Bay event.
The Olympic distance race, which includes a 1500m swim, 40km bike ride and 10km, is the final race for many Aussie triathletes before they head offshore for the international racing season.
Last year's men's winner Levi Maxwell will be back to defend his crown, while former Under-23s Mooloolaba Triathlon winner Luke McKenzie and Australian Ironman top-10 finisher Cameron Watt will be hot on his heels. Taylor though is just glad to be racing.
"I love my job so I'm looking forward to getting out there; it's nice to be back racing again," she said. The race begins at 1pm..