Daniel Ellis in action in 2008. Photo: Andrew Meares
FROM the postie bike back to the track - Daniel Ellis has rediscovered his passion for competing against the world's best and is targeting an Olympic Games comeback in 2016.
Ellis ended a nine-month break from track cycling to help the ACT to a bronze medal in the team sprint at the national championships on Wednesday night.
It is the last place he thought he would be, having spent most of last year riding ''a little mean machine'' around Adelaide as a postman after deciding he didn't have the motivation to continue training.
But a phone call from ACT coach Glenn Doney got him back on his bike last month and the 24-year-old will begin training full-time as he eyes a spot at the Commonwealth Games next year and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
''My head just needed a break but when I got back on the track I thought to myself, 'what have I been doing the last nine months, this is where I belong','' Ellis said.
''I needed the time off, I knew I needed to get away because it was getting a bit dull and I didn't have a decent break for about eight years.
''I needed a normal life for a bit, but now there's a whole new excitement. My first few [training sessions] I had my head in the bin throwing up but I finally felt a bit more co-ordinated last week.''
Ellis and teammates Nathan Hart and Alex Bird secured third place in Sydney despite their limited preparation.
Bird is on the cusp of world championship selection and went to the London Olympics as a training rider with the Australian track team.
Ellis made his Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008 as a teenager and established himself as a consistent sprint and keirin rider.
But almost a decade of full-time training, the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games took their toll and the 24-year-old lost his enthusiasm for the sport.
When he missed selection for the London Olympic team, he gave it all away.
Instead of riding laps, Ellis was riding his postie bike delivering letters.
He went mountain biking, got married and bought a motorbike to try to enjoy a ''normal life'' with no training commitments.
Ellis competed in the qualifying for the flying 200-metre sprint at the national championships, but only to test himself in his comeback and see how much he needed to improve to get back to his best.
With his mini-retirement over, Ellis is confident he can achieve his goal of getting back on the Olympic team.
''The thing running through my head is that I want to make another Olympics. Missing out on London has put a new hunger into the legs,'' Ellis said.
''That's the biggest goal I've set myself, I'm starting with a clean slate and now I'm laying the foundations.
''I'm still about half-a-second off what I need to be doing [in times], it will be hard work to get back there but I thought I would have been worse off than what I am.
''Having that time off is the best thing for me, I've come back with new goals and new attitude and ready to really tackle it.''