Roanoke woman prepares for ‘Million Dollar Challenge’

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s a modest setup: a hand cycle mounted in the corner of an apartment, but it’s a spot where Ryen Reed spends a lot of time each day.

“Right now I go to the gym for a couple of hours, come home, have breakfast and do my training ride, which is 3-5 hours on the trainer,” said Reed.

The trainer is something Reed has grown to love over the last 6 years, when she first got into para-sports. Growing up it was a different ball field.

“So I grew up playing softball, I never wanted to be treated any differently, I wanted to be just like anyone else, so I competed in able-bodied sports my whole life,” said Reed.

Reed was born with cerebral palsy and hip dysplasia, which mainly affect her legs. She needed some help with running, but played until injuries caused her to pause.

Para triathlons were the first introduction Reed had to to para-cycling. A coach noticed she was progressing the most with cycle - so it became the focus for a bigger goal.

“Found out I qualified for the Paralympics. and my whole life I wanted to compete in the Olympics, but I was never able to because of my disability,” said Reed.

Throughout her life Reed has had 16 surgeries. She has broken bones, and has had to start over many times. But each start has made her stronger and more eager to tell her story.

“If I knew about para-sports when I was younger and had the mentors and the assistance that I have now with my teams and support, I probably would be in the Paralympics,” said Reed.

So until 2024 she’ll continue to pedal. Next week the training takes her from coast to coast across California.

“We ride between 75 miles to 119 a day,” said Reed.

She doesn’t count miles in her living room right now, but she knows it will be a challenge, one she’s happily accepting, to get her one stop closer to Paris.

Reed is hopeful to raise $10,000 before she leaves Roanoke. If you would like to help her journey, you can do so here.

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