This morning the Phoenix Centre at Tedworth House was an echo chamber of shouted instructions (and words of encouragement), whizzing bike wheels, and gasping breath. It was a power cycling session for guys hoping to make the cut for this year's Invictus Games.
Training started at 0930 and lasted until 1200 before the guys filled their stomachs and set off for a lengthy road ride through the Wiltshire countryside. Needless to say, their week started with some breathless intensity that left sideliners like myself feeling worn out just watching them.
It was fascinating to see such a variety of training equipment, all specially adapted for targeted use. Handbikes, static bikes, the lot. Coupled with this the level of camraderie and encouragement. This gym is definitely not your typical high street competitive hangout; everyone was chivvying each other along.
It goes without saying that the air of military instruction hung heavily in the room, though. Every new routine was preceded with deep, booming directions from the instructor standing on a chest press bench. And during every exercise he'd periodically yell at people to "dig in!" because they were "halfway there" and "doing great!" - by far the best kind of motivation for these guys.
- Invictus Games: 10 - 14 September 2014
- Cycling event: Day 4 of the Games (13 September) at 1000 - 1200 and 1300 - 1600