I have known Juan Carlos Hernandez for several years. I met him, like many of my friends, on a bike ride. I knew right away “JC” would be someone I and many others would look up to. He just has that presence that naturally draws people to him. I once drove all the way up to Leadville Colorado just to watch this man lay a smack down on a course that annihilates most people that try. Many times JC and I have joked about trying not to take things so seriously and just go ahead and eat the cookies. I am proud to know him and proud to call him my friend.
BTA: Where do you call home?
JC: “Schulenburg Texas but currently living in Los Angeles California.”
BTA: What sports are you into?
JC: “Road and Mountain biking, although I prefer the dirt versus the road. Something about the tranquility of the trails, with no cars honking or driving by you at 50 MPH. If ever in doubt, I GO DIRT!”
BTA: What are some of your achievements?
JC: “Hmmm, I’ve completed the Leadville 100 Race Across the Sky four times, with two sub nine hour finishes. I’ve completed the La Ruta de los Conquistadores, a three day mountain bike race across the country of Coasta Rica. That was the hardest race I’ve ever done.”
BTA: What are your goals for the next 4 years?
JC: “Be done with college and complete my BA degree in Kinesiology.”
BTA: Who is a person that you look up to and why?
JC: “James (Jim) Penseyres, former Marine and Vietnam Veteran. Jim helped me a lot in the beginning when I first started cycling. He would always, and still does, give me advice on what to do when I would have issues with my residual limb and my prosthetic. Jim has been around for a while and has been an amputee longer than I’ve been alive. I was impressed by his cycling career as an amputee and it pushed me to continue riding as long as I am enjoying it and having fun.”
BTA: If you had to pick one thing that you would want everyone to know about you, what would it be?
JC: “I came to America at the age of 9 as an illegal alien from Mexico. I graduated High School, joined the US Army and received my US Citizenship while deployed in Afghanistan.”
BTA: Can you tell me a funny story about you?
JC: “Not long after my amputation, about six months, I was on the road doing a bike ride. After riding for about six hours in the heat of Texas I was exhausted. When I got to my room I turned on the Air Conditioner, took my leg off, got in the shower and then fell asleep. I woke up several hours later freezing!! I got out of bed, took one step and then tried to take another and my face met the floor. Thankfully it was carpet so I wasn’t too hurt. Anyway, that woke me up pretty quick. I guess I was still trying to get used to the fact that I was missing half of my right leg.”
BTA: So tell me what makes you Better than Able?
JC: “Free Prosthetics! Joking, joking…Hmmm, I guess my motivation and determination to never give up. To block out the pain and keep going. Although it has gotten me in a hole several times by not listening to my body. Also I would have to say the Military experience. Not many people can say they had the privilege to serve their country and earn their citizenship while deployed in a combat zone. Why did Top Gun just pop into my head?”