USMES TRACK CYCLING CAMP… OR CAMP INSPIRE?Posted 04 Apr 2016 in News
By Mark Turner – TR4U Coaching
In early March I had the unique opportunity to attend a track cycling camp in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center sponsored by U.S. Military Endurance Sports. I had hoped to pen a bit about my experience there much sooner than this but it has taken this amount of time to truly begin to synthesize how that experience impacted me: as an athlete, a coach, and as a veteran.
Words like inspiring are used so often these days that sometimes it seems that we need to manufacture new ones to adequately express our experiences. Yet, in some cases, the old words still express things best. Inspiring is exactly what my time at the OTC was for me. The definition of inspire is to “fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something.” And that is why I will stand by inspiring to describe the camp.
I was inspired by the location, the people, and the experience. I was inspired by the reality that world class athletes come in all shapes and sizes and, especially true for me at 53 years old, ages. I was inspired and changed by the men and women I met at the camp. Most of whom have or who are overcoming significant obstacles to an active life let alone an athletic life. And not just the veterans I had the privilege to train alongside were inspiring in such regards but also the other attendees at the camp. There was a a spirit about the place. A sense that no matter what one’s particular unique circumstances, you were in a place you belonged.
From the moment I walked up the steps and through the door of the athlete check in building I knew I was someplace deeply special. Indeed, that something special was to take place in those next couple of days. From the pictures and inspirational quotes that adorned the walls to the focus and camaraderie of the men and women who walked the halls and sat down to meals in the dining hall together in the shared fellowship of deep effort and commitment, I could feel the permeating presence of the passion to pursue individual excellence.
It was in that setting that I was honored to be a part of a group of veterans that came together and through a few days spent in a velodrome in Colorado Springs grew together as family and friends. The unique experience of service to something greater than yourself which characterizes military service was the initial bonding agent, but the character and dignity of my fellow campers is what drew me to be so inspired by and connected to each of them. Their character and mutual support, given so freely, and yet a gifted ability acquired in the most challenging of circumstances in service to their country and at such great cost fills me with gratitude for each of them. We were all so different. And all so much the same.
Track camp was awesome (another often used word that still serves here). I learned much about how to ride around a track on a fixed gear bike. But I learned so much more about the depth of the human spirit from some of the finest men and women who have sacrificed so much for their country and for each other. I am grateful to USMES for the opportunity to attend the camp and learn about riding a track bike but more than that I am grateful for the opportunity to share that time and experience with the men and women I met and came to know and to care for so deeply. I am a Marine and our motto is the well known “Semper Fidelis” but for my friends from USMES Track Camp I want to wish each of you, Semper Amicos: “always friends.”
Reposted with permission from: Coach Mark T Performance Blog