"I've had to learn how to make good decisions under pressure." -Corey Reed

  • What Ride with Core is all about – and how having an Entertainment company fits into his future
  • The Ride with Core film Resilience – see here – don’t’ miss this.
  • Being a father, husband and mentor
  • Going from a super athlete to an adaptive athlete
  • What it means to be competitive
  • Ever heard of Para-Snowboarding? Neither had we.
  • What are the traits that he wants others to cultivate: Constantly bettering yourself. Be vulnerable – step outside your comfort zone and Trust.

No Leg. No Sight. No Problem. How Would You Adapt Your Training?

I can remember what life was like before. Comfortable and confident; I was unaware of everything I had to lose. 

Then in an instant it was gone. One crash, and from that moment on, nothing was the same.

This challenge has brought pain, but also a chance to rise. To grow. To engage and adapt. And to create something brand new and beautiful from the loss. 

This is my reality. But I won’t worry over the past, and I have no regrets. I’m wide awake now, so don’t feel sorry for me. 

My future’s never been so bright.

 

He suddenly collapsed and started crawling toward me…

by Michael Maina

As a camera operator following Corey Reed at athletic events, I often find myself crawling around on the floor to get as close to the action as possible.  At the Working Wounded Games the athletes were in the heat of an intense competition, so naturally I was nose to the floor filming the action when I suddenly realized one of the athletes was crawling right toward me.  It was athlete Sebastian Nunez Allyach.  Corey and I had just met Sebastian earlier that day but it hadn’t struck me until then that he was competing with no prosthetic! It looked like he was doing CrossFit balancing on one leg.  “Where was his prosthetic? Why wasn’t he using it?” I thought as I replayed our meeting earlier. 

 

Corey and I were sitting in the athlete recovery room across from Sebastian and his friend Hector who had traveled all the way to Vienna, VA from Santiago, Chile to compete at the Games.  At the time neither one was wearing a prosthetic, so I didn’t think much of it because athletes often remove them for comfort.  We only had a few minutes to talk when they were called back onto the competition floor for the next event. 

Ride With Core B-48.jpg

 

Sebastian started the Celtic Bag Toss and Burpee event. He got through the first round of burpees, then would stand on one leg and throw a sandbag overhead attempting to clear a bar set at 9 feet.  One legged burpees and one legged bag tosses were taking a toll on him.  As I looked through the lens of my camera, I could see his struggle and the refusal to give up clearly across his face.  It was Sebastian’s final toss and the crowd wasn’t giving up on him either.  He kept trying to make the last bar but couldn't get sandbag over it.  His face said it all.   Finally the judge had him finish with burpees. Each burpee was taking every last bit of energy he had.  I could see his pain through my lens.  He finished and tried to stand and hobble off the floor.  The crowd cheered as if to hold him up when he suddenly collapsed and began crawling toward me.  Sebastian could no longer stand upright. I was fighting back tears as I quickly shouldered my camera to help him off the floor, but he could only lay in exhaustion while the next athletes started their events. 

Ride With COre

 

After guiding Corey Reed for years now, I knew how to quickly move Sebastian through a crowd to the athlete recovery room.  I was afraid he would collapse again even though it was a short walk.  As he was laying on the couch to rest, he was in obvious pain, rolling back and forth, twisting and turning…I was very concerned about him.  He finally fell asleep in the same place he landed. When he awoke, he was in a better place.  The rest had helped.

Sebastian confided that last sandbag toss would haunt him for the rest of his life.  That's how much it meant to him to be at the Games…a true athlete.  As we sat in the athlete recovery room, I couldn't stand it…I had to ask, “Sebastian, why no prosthetic? I don't understand.” He replied in broken English the best he could, "In our country, if you are disabled, nobody cares.  There is very little help.  You get one prosthetic for basically your whole life.  ONE!  If it breaks, there is no spare parts.  So you only wear it for emergencies.”  What he said broke my heart.  

We literally have the best prosthetics available here in the United States.  Recent technological advances have provided many of the U.S. adaptive athletes’ tremendous opportunities.  As an elite athlete, a sponsorship from Freedom Innovations meant the world to Corey Reed.  His prosthetics stand up to the most rigorous workouts in CrossFit.  He couldn't have accomplished as much as he has without them.

My wheels started turning.  I thought to myself, “We have to help these guys. We’re Ride With Core!  If we stand for anything, we stand for this. These guys exemplified The Heart of a Champion.” 

 

As we spoke, I pressed for the details of Sebastian and Hector’s journey to the United States. Sebastian explained the he had lost his leg to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in 2002.  Sebastian was basically describing to me an impoverished country where disabled people are alone to deal with their adaptation.  But despite their circumstance, these two were infectious with enthusiasm and kindness.  He and his friend Hector barely made it to the Games.  A CrossFit box in Chile held a fundraiser and tried as hard as they could to raise enough funds to give them this “once in a lifetime opportunity.”  Friends, family and CrossFit pulled together and made it happen for them at the last minute. 

 

As we said our goodbyes, Sebastian handed me a wrist band made out of the flag of his Country.  It was modestly handmade but meant more to me than anything I could have received that day because I understood what it took for them get here.  I almost broke down again, so I hurried back to Corey and started explaining the story.  You don't have to tell Corey what it feels like to be denied opportunity...he immediately had a great idea!  We started formulating a plan right there before we even jumped on the plane back to LA.

 

That plan is coming soon…

An evolution of revolution...

Redefining what's possible… 

Time to RIDE for our new brothers from Santiago, Chile…

If circumstances took your limbs, your sight, your hearing...what would you do?

By Michael Maina

We were tremendously fortunate to participate in the 2014 Working Wounded Games in Vienna, VA this month.  CrossFit hosts some really incredible events around the country, but nothing has inspired me more than the Working Wounded Games. There were so many athletes participating this year, from disabled veterans and active duty military personnel, to those who simply want to compete to honor the spirit of the games.  It was truly a humbling experience. 

The Working Wounded community literally made it possible for us to be there this year. They had coaches, guides, and just about everybody jumping in to help Corey Reed with the WODs. The "Heart of a Champion" athlete brings out the "Heart of a Community" every time.  They continue to remind us of humility, grit, and perseverance.
As a country we could learn so much from these soldiers and athletes, and we gratefully say, "Thank you for

your courage!"

Athlete ZacK Ruhl

Athlete ZacK Ruhl

 

We were surrounded by veterans with lost limbs who have already scarified so much, now at the Games laying
it down for us again, lifting, rowing, and pulling a sled. It was a demonstration of the "true grit" that may have helped them on the battlefield. They are survivors that were actively teaching the crowd transformational skills through their actions, leading by example...personifying the human spirit of "what is possible" regardless of circumstance.

The crowd literary roared as every competitor completed their event and crossed the finish line. I would venture to say, in those moments, anyone in the crowd would have jumped in to help the athletes pull their sled those last 3 feet to cross the line. They would have lunged under the Atlas Stone to help lift it. They would have risked it because the human spirit of these adaptive athletes literally transforms you.

Athlete Luke Ericson

Athlete Luke Ericson

When Corey Reed started the Atlas Stone and Kettle Bell Swing event, the crowd was totally pumped. He moved through the progression one weight level at a time with the last stone being 180 pounds, basically his own body weight.  Every time he table topped a stone the crowd cheered so loudly you couldn't hear anything but the noise.  It was exhilarating!  However, not being able to see where he was or hear what was going on made it difficult
for Corey to determine how close he was, nearly inches, from placing the final 180 pounds on the table.
We all agreed, if Corey could only "see" how close he was, he would have tabled the stone as he had done the night before. 

Regardless of any achievement in any given situation, what is most astonishing is the fact that Corey Reed is the only "blind" amputee athlete to compete in the games to date.  Blind being the infinitive word.  The tragedy here is, because music is played at such a loud level at these athletic events, the sound literally strips away almost every ability for Corey to communicate. Corey's ears are how he sees. When you remove his hearing as well, it becomes almost impossible for him to function. He takes it in stride though, a true champion, and we hope to bring about a better awareness next year. 

Athlete Corey Reed

Athlete Corey Reed

Watching my best friend compete this year taught me more about his iron will, why he lives up to the "Heart of a Champion" mindset, no matter what you take away from him...his sight, his leg, or his ability to hear. Take it all and he will come back...stronger, faster, healthier. He will speak to our youth about his accident to inspire them.  He will lift an Atlas Stone with what strength he has left to motivate you.  He will climb a rock wall to give someone like young William the belief that he, too, can one day do it. 

 

If circumstances took your limbs, your sight,
your hearing...what would you do?

I know what I would do...

I'd Ride With Core.

Heart of a Champion

by Michael Maina

The most intense fitness training I have ever seen was quickly turning into a three-month race against time to learn Olympic lifting, build muscle, and mind-map the movements as a blind amputee. Corey Reed was in the ultimate challenge of his life. It was a tight three-month schedule, as Corey Reed, who had never done CrossFit, prepared for a national competition that would take place in another State. With the fact that he was blind and couldn't see what he was doing, some of us (friends, family, and the entire RWC team) were really wondering if this was even possible. If you're throwing over a hundred-pound weight overhead, you better know where that bar is going to land. He couldn't see the bar! That's what makes Corey Reed special. He just believes he can. But this journey would bring Corey to a place of absolute physical exhaustion. None of us at RWC had done any competitive CrossFit, so we didn't know what we didn't know.

As Corey Reed's friend and business partner at Ride With Core, my job was to film it all, to follow Corey through the twists and turns of this wild RIDE. A few weeks in to training, his hands were bleeding and he looked like he was losing what little weight he had. All I could think about was that we were running out of time. Quitting wasn't an option. CrossFit Los Angeles - Coach Kenny Kane told Corey straight up, "If you get tired and no show or start complaining, we are done." Kenny didn't want to treat Corey special. We didn't know if he meant it, but Corey didn't want to find out either. So many things could go wrong.  Weights all over the floor he could trip on while loading the bar, just finding the nearlings was difficult. Can't see the box he's jumping on or the wall balls that are part of CrossFit. Locating jump ropes, water, bar clamps, the right weight on the bar.  All for time? Didn't matter to Corey, he just started and wouldn't quit. No excuses! It's humbling to watch someone do what you seriously doubt possible for yourself. Inspiring? It goes way beyond that. As we started filming the documentary series, things just evolved.

As I got to know Corey and we became close friends, I had to dig deeper to find out why he did these things. Soaked with water and ice by Navy Seals at SealFit 20x. Climbing a 1000 foot vertical wall in Yosemite. WHY? It became a quest to find out what drove him. How he fought through the doubt, danger and unknown. We all know he does this stuff. The question I wanted answered is, why? That's when the series started to develop. Any one of us right now could close our eyes and walk across a room we know well. You would still hope not to hit anything. You could start heading to the wrong side of the room or get to the other side before you thought you would. Now, try being pulled on the back of a boat on a wakeboard with debris in the water and  choppy unpredictable wakes and boats coming in too close on a holiday weekend. Or maybe a bull horn in your face with water hitting you from all sides, like at SealFit. Or like in the "Heart of a Champion" documentary, the sound on the floor was deafening. So take away your sight and sound and start sprinting in a place you've never been. That's Corey Reed, that's a faith we all want to experience.

I will keep filming and telling his story, until the whole world knows what it takes to live by this kind of faith, myself included. On the rock wall in Yosemite, I kept thinking he has to follow  me up this route and he has to somehow find every handhold, keep from getting frustrated and not lose energy while struggling for a hold. And take away his sound there, too, because the wind took away our ability to communicate. So he was basically alone, blind on a rock wall, unable to hear us for a long time while we had to just let him sort it out. At this point, he's like my brother. I worry about everything we do. He's taught me about faith and courage by example. He never asked me to do any of this stuff. Your brother goes, you go. I guess that's what makes it like family. The Ride With Core family!

 

Learn more about the RWC documentary series at ridewithcore.com!

Source: ridewithcore.com

RWC - Training in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

It was 4 a.m. as I was rolling up to Corey Reed’s place.  It was the last day of training before the multi-pitch climb in Yosemite.  Originally the plan was to climb outdoors with one of the Paradox Sports guides, but we were unable to put that together before the trip.  I was deeply concerned that without at least one outdoor run-through we could be in over our heads in Yosemite.

Corey was the fittest that I have ever seen him and I knew he could physically do it.  However, knowing all the techniques was a different matter.  Rock climbing is inherently dangerous.  Corey, who happens to be blind and an amputee, and me on the rock and trying to film him simultaneously, adds three times the complexity to the climb.  In thirty days we had to know how to climb, how to film on the rock and how to dial in all sorts of custom rigging for this adventure.  It weighed heavy on us.

As we rolled into Joshua tree we were super excited to have action sports photographer Michael Dorman (http://www.dormanstudios.com/) along for the RIDE.  We were on the rocks all day with Corey utilizing his new foot on loan from adaptive-climber Ronnie Dickson.  The foot came in just one day before the outdoor climb.

Things were starting to come together for us just five days before the Yosemite climb.  I had learned different techniques to ascend a rope.  Corey was getting training from Bob Gaines, Vertical Adventures Rock Climbing School.  Tony Grice and Eric Kramer-Webb were absolute pros in building our confidence for the Yosemite climb five days from now.  We felt totally prepared for our adventure but when we reached Yosemite we were about to find out everything we had prepared for was about to change…


Ride With Core - Ambassador William Thompson

As training intensifies for Yosemite National Park, Corey Reed finds an even deeper meaning to the already historic climb on September 11, 2014.  Seven year old William Thompson, who also shares a prosthetic and action sports life style, sends his support with a rad poster board.  "You Can Do It!" it reads.  He even made it out of Jelly Beans!  He did that so blind, adaptive-athlete Corey Reed can feel the letters as they are spelled out.  He also personally autographed it, "I believe in you!  -William".

"We saw young William while participating in the Life Rolls On event in Venice Beach, CA this summer," says Ride With Core team member and business partner, Michael Maina. "I kept looking through my 400mm lens for moments to capture of the event. Young William stood out to me in a sea of amazing adaptive athletes. Sometimes my lens actually guides me to what to capture."

Michael, along with Corey Reed, are about to release their first feature length Documentary, Heart of a Champion. "I found some of the most inspirational moments in my life following and documenting Corey Reed's life. It's no wonder I can see the heart that flows through these young action sports athletes. It's hard sometimes just to fight back tears to get the shot. Having William on the RWC team keeps us motivated when the days get long and the training has us exhausted. Corey is great with kids and this will always be one of the highlights of our Ride With Core journey."

 

Ride With Core September the 11th climb

Ride With Core, in association with Paradox Sports, is teaming up for a multi-pitch climb in Yosemite National Park on September 11, 2014. Corey Reed, along with team members Michael Maina and Cameron Maina, are planning to take you on the RIDE of your life. Filming has begun for the challenging multi-pitch climb with Corey, a blind amputee adaptive athlete. It is an honor for us to climb with war veteran, combat wounded and current active-duty, DJ Skelton. We realize there are only weeks to prepare. We haven’t climbed in years. An all-out effort is being made with daily CrossFit WODs, ruck sack hikes, as well as climbing at Boulder Dash, an indoor rock gym. We believe in bringing these stories of inspiration and honor to our fallen heroes by challenging ourselves to new levels. Paradox Sports is bringing some of their best mountain climbers, so we are taking this seriously and training hard. Soon we will be announcing ridewithcore.com where you will be able to follow our training progress and receive updates from the climbing day.   -- RIDE