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Mountain Biking Equals Happiness

Author Photo
Raphael Hernandez
Elephant at sunset
I love mountain biking; it makes me happy in so many ways. I primarily like it because it challenges me to focus on what is directly in front of me and around the corner.

If I am not fully focused, and present, an epic crash is likely. This is especially true if the trail selected is a difficult one. Focusing on the task at hand is more important for me that it has ever been, especially at a time when digital communications tools, like smartphones, are constant distractions. When I am outdoors, on my mountain bike, climbing a hill and feeling my heart pounding, my legs pushing and pulling the clip-in pedals, and the sweat pouring into my eyes, I am happiest. The challenge is real, and so is the discomfort one experiences when they are physically, and mentally, challenging themselves. It is all perspective of course. It is not uncommon for more experienced riders to pass me at the speed of light on a slight incline, while I ride at a snail’s pace talking to myself. Telling myself, “You can do this, don’t quit.” For me, I love the sense of accomplishment after I complete a ride. It matters little to me that I may have gotten off the saddle a few times when a hill was just too much to ride up, or that I walked the mountain bike down a steep include because, well, safety first (full disclosure, I usually get off the bike on steep inclines because they scare me…). Now I am remembering the mountain bike rides I would take with a couple of fellow U.S. Marines when I was stationed on Okinawa, Japan, back in the day.  We had a lot of fun.

About the Author

Raphael Hernandez retired from the U.S. Marine Corps at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He went on to work at Amazon and is currently the Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Marine Corps Community Services, Business and Support Division, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. When he Is not riding his mountain bike in the Virginia countryside, he is west Texas, riding desert trails.
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