Brevard Athletes Local Training Has Them Competing With U.S. Bobsledding Elite
How did three men from the hot, humid, sun-and-surf laden Space Coast of Florida get to compete in the pool of our nation's elite bobsledding athletes? They each have their own path to the icy track that winds through high school, college and international sports careers, the military, and chance relationships. But a commonality: They all train at ubrZati.
What is this mysterious word, you ask? ubrZati — which means speed and acceleration in Croatian — is the premiere speed training facility in Brevard County for youth through pro level athletes.
Dylan Reda, a 31-year-old Southern California native who’s called Brevard home since 2015 played linebacker for University of Southern Mississippi football and went on to play four seasons in the Danish-American Football League, for the Triangle Razorbacks in 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2022. It’s at ubrZati where Reda trains 21-year-old Tyler Madl, a baseball and track athlete and graduate from Viera High School. Both competed in March on the same four-man sled team that finished second at the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation’s (ISBF) North American Cup in icy Lake Placid, N.Y. They beat out teams from Canada and Germany.
And they’re eyeing more bobsledding opportunities, along with longtime competitor David Simon, of Merritt Island — who also trains at ubrZati. Simon, 40, is active duty Space Force and has been part of the Air Force World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), which allows elite athletes the opportunity to train and compete as they pursue a spot on the Olympic team of their respective sport.
It’s a great time to get on the radar of the national bobsled coaches and pilots — the athletes who drive the sled once the pushmen get it flying — as a bunch of competitors retired after the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
So, what makes three guys from Florida such good bobsledders?
“These three have absolutely unmatched work ethic. When they train together, they constantly motivate each other and critique areas of improvement,” said UbrZati Director of Operations Mike DeVinney. “They’re always bouncing ideas off of each other on ways to improve and get better at what they do.”
In looking for a place to train, Simon connected with ubrZati. Reda became a training partner, quickly revealing his strength and power. So Simon introduced Reda to actual bobsled techniques.
“Then, once Tyler was done with his semester at school, he started training with us here and quickly became one of the fastest athletes in the facility, which also caught David’s eye knowing that speed is an important aspect of bobsled training,” DeVinney said.
Reda said another bobsledder from Florida talked to him years prior, when he was still in college, about the sport. This time, though, he was able to act on it.
“I had seen Cool Runnings but I hadn’t actually thought about it as an actual sport,” Reda said of the pop culture film about the Jamaican bobsled team.
Reda was presented with an opportunity to go train in Korea for several weeks, but having two young children at home with wife, Lauren, expecting their third, and work obligations (he also teaches physical education at Trinity Lutheran School), he passed the opportunity on to Madl. Within a week, the Eastern Florida State College student was on a plane headed somewhere he’d never been to compete in a sport he’d never done.
“I was just kind of shocked, never would I have thought bobsled would be an opportunity,” Madl said.
But both were ready.
“What’s interesting about bobsled, you have to be this hybrid athlete, you have to be explosive, you have to be fast,” said Simon, who’s been competing since 2015.
But athletes don’t know exactly how their training will translate to the ice, until they go do it. The sleds Madl raced in Korea reached 80-85 mph. There’s no room for hesitation or error, and the four men need to quickly get in sync and work as a team. Despite having different builds and athletic backgrounds, Madl and Reda both are finding success with it.
Madl’s youth and dedication, and Reda’s lifestyle of constantly training as he’s demonstrating movements as a trainer, along with his background as a pro football player have served them well.
“That mentality and execution is what makes them successful,” Simon said.
Relationship building is a big part of finding a home on a bobsled. Connections happened in the background (Reda’s father was Madl’s high school track coach, for example) but building rapport with the national bobsled coaches, selection committee and pilots who steer the bobsled teams is almost as important as the physical performance component.
Everyone is doing it because they love it. Athletes can be awarded stipends and provided food, but they are not doing it for the money.
“It’s a unique sport, and it can work as long as the support system you have is intact,” said Simon, a father to four girls who range from 5 years old to a college student.
In addition to the support at home, the men have found everything they need to get in their best shape at ubrZati.
“We do a lot of powerful and explosive weight training techniques with Olympic lifts, Landmine University, and plyometrics,” DeVinney explained about the bobsled specific training. “We also work on heavy and speed sled push work on the turf. But the most important thing we do is use the ZTread (treadmill) and high inclines to help them develop a really powerful knee drive while building their ability to accelerate quickly.”
Simon, Madl and Reda come from varied athletic backgrounds but have been able to adapt.
“It’s an interesting dynamic because obviously Dylan and David are two very large and powerful guys and then on the other side you have a very lean and speedy Tyler,” DeVinney noted. “But they fit their roles for bobsled perfectly where Tyler has the ability to be faster and with his leaner build, be a great pilot for the team. Then you have Dylan and David who will be the power guys on the backside of the sled to help build speed and give it a big push down the track.”
Simon described the experience of bobsledding as “totally thrilling” and said he plans to be in the mix for the 2026 winter Olympics in Italy. His general advice: “If it’s a dream or something that God has put in you, work toward it, act on it, the rest of it will be history.”
As for Madl and Reda, they also plan to keep training and competing. They’re eyeing the Push Championships in September, which are like a draft where sled teams come together for further competition.
“I’m definitely going to continue the journey over the summer and when the season starts back up into the fall, we’ll see where it leads me,” Madl said.
Reda impacts so many young people with his training and positive attitude.
“I’ve always loved coaching and I feel like I’m a big kid at heart, so it’s been easy for me to relate to the kids,” Reda said, “show them that they can pursue whatever they want, chase whatever goals they have.”
Now, his students get to cheer on Coach Dylan.
6030 N US1
Melbourne, FL 32940
Athletes on Instagram:
Tyler Madl: @tylermadl37
Dylan Reda: @dylanreda
David Simon: @simonicus
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