Rina Hill of Brisbane and Luke McKenzie of the Gold Coast celebrate their wins in the Byron Bay Triathlon on Saturday.
Rina Hill of Brisbane and Luke McKenzie of the Gold Coast celebrate their wins in the Byron Bay Triathlon on Saturday.

Pipped for drafting

By HELEN JACK

LENNOX-based triathlete Pip Taylor returned from a nine-month lay-off to storm into the lead of the 12th annual Byron Bay Triathlon on Saturday.

Until she was pipped for drafting.

"I felt happy with my swim, and happy with my bike ride," she said yesterday.

"Unfortunately I ran up the back of some boys going up a hill and was penalised for drafting."

The enforced three-minute wait at the end of her bike leg cruelled the promising athlete ? physically and mentally.

"I went from 100 percent effort to cooling my heels and watching the minutes tick by," she said.

Taylor was so far out in front of her competitors that two-and-a-half minutes elapsed before the pack caught up. As they passed she watched any chance of snaring the $1250 first place prizemoney run out of sight.

"I can take the penalty, but it is really frustrating when it doesn't feel like a level playing field," she said.

"The draft-busters could have done a better job watching the rest of the field. I know what was going on behind me."

Taylor's third place result proved just how hard she had to dig and it will boost her confidence going into a strenuous triathlon season in the United States. Pip is due to fly out of Australia in 10 days.

"The Byron Bay result was frustrating but I was happy with my race," she said.

"It set me up well, and has given me a lot of confidence." Pip's enforced lay-off since last June was the result of fatigue.

"I just needed time out to recover," she said. "It was the best thing I could have done." Easy win for McKenzie

MEANWHILE, Gold Coast triathlete Luke McKenzie had hardly raised a pant as stepped across the finish line claiming first prize in the men's division.

His first time competing in the event, McKenzie blitzed the field with a healthy gap between him and second placegetter Boyd Conrick of Sydney.

He said the win would boost his confidence as he prepared to compete on the American summer circuit.

"I was surprised to win because the course is short and I thought I did not have the speed to win it," he said. "I really surprised myself."

McKenzie said he did not know his time and had not worn a watch during the event. "I just compete and as long as I finish first I don't really worry about my times," he said. Rina Hill, of Brisbane, was the first woman over the line and said she was also surprised to win. "I entered at the last minute," she said.



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