It?s make or break time for cyclist
GENEROUS support from Rockhampton residents has cyclist Cameron Jennings still striving for success in Europe.
A donation bin at Tuckers Avanti Plus attracted $1262.12 towards Jennings' return to Belgium while some of the young cyclists he trained also chipped with $5 here and there.
Grateful for the support, Jennings, who leaves Rockhampton today, rates this journey as a "make or break'' time.
"It's not that I'm getting long in the tooth or anything, but financially it's becoming tough for me ? I have to start thinking about the years down the track,'' Jennings said.
This will be the 26-year-old's fourth season in Belgium, riding with the DFL/cyclingnews.com team this season, which followed spending just over a year in Italy with an AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) under-23 team.
Jennings' pay cheque is enough to cover his daily living expenses, but nothing extra.
This season he needs this team to step up to the next level or he hopes to get contracted to a bigger team.
Despite the financial battle, Jennings is still looking forward to the European road season.
The 13-member team will be presented in England on February 23 before preparing for its first race days later.
Europe's cold weather will, as always, be the first tough test for Jennings.
"I don't go well in that first month and you have to make sure you don't get sick,'' said Jennings, as he battles minus temperatures at night and maximums during the day of about five degrees.
Getting changed for a race is an effort in itself.
The lower body hosts long thermal shorts, a cycling suit and leg warmers while the upper body wears four or five layers.