Sean de Luna (1976) Maryland (USA)
I discovered this sport because I did a marathon and hated it. I did like the rest stops though, I got free drinks and food. Even beer. And the volunteers were always oh, so very, very, nice.
But I still hated marathons. And running.
So I tried triathlon-ing (ok, ok, I like to make words up).
I thought it’d be fun, right? I mean, you get to wear spandex eat lots of sugar, and then get some medal at the end.
Then I realized I hated swimming. Don’t get me started on the rest stops…the food and drink were too salty and the beer watered down. The fish were distracted volunteers, always going to school, rather than taking care of the athletes.
Swimming sucked. Running blew.
But there was one bright spot. I loved the feeling of being on the bike (still do). And so, as a result of my endurance-sport exploration, I chose: Cycling.
Since 2005, I’ve been hooked on turning those pedals. I used to race, but getting older has a way of broadening perspective and tempering the need for speed. With two wonderful kids, a great wife (who tolerates my cycling addiction), engaging hobbies and a fulfilling job, I’m not pressed to race, compete, or motivated kill myself on rides.
I ride to keep up.
I ride to find the edge of my physical limits (going to try an Everest this year)
I ride so that I can bring my best self to support my family, friends, work, and communities.
I love meeting new folks around the world that share the passion for the sport and the culture that comes with it. Meeting the cycling community on @allblack.cc and Instagram has really reinforced my belief that there is good in this world. I can cite so many examples of how people from social media groups have offered to support me, provide tips, and even course recommendations for my travels or challenges they see me navigating in my IG posts. My IG gallery is just one manifestation of how I try to embody the goodness in the world. It’s life captured through the lens of cycling: a commentary on current events, on myself, and on our sport’s culture. It’s also a place where I experiment, improve my technical skills and ability to “see” and tell “stories.”
I love how cycling has allowed me to reconnect with my creative side: photography. I’m not a formally trained photographer (I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way by observing friends, taking an online course or two, and then there’s YouTube, Google, @allblack.cc, Instagram inspiration, and practice, practice, practice). I have an amateur-ish background in art and design. I love the flair for the creative, for how art and imagery can tell stories and evoke emotion. I worked in advertising before becoming a teacher and cycling photography activates the same creative muscles I loved flexing during client campaigns. Now that I’ve integrated the camera and bicycle, I’ve found it’s actually helped me with my current job (I work with teachers all over the country through a wonderful organization called Teach For America).
Cycling photography has helped me stay more present, in the moment, and savoring the “here and now” during my rides. In a way, it’s also reminded me to do the same in my life. I’ve found that the act of riding and shooting (or even just walking the dog, walking anywhere, and shooting) has taught me to “see” more things. Photography is an act of mindfulness –it’s meditative for me. I’ve found that if I carry a camera (even if it’s my iPhone) I’m more present and mindful of my surroundings. It’s helped me be a better father, partner, and person. As a result, my family, friends, work colleagues and the communities I am part of get to experience the benefit.
So that’s my story. The story of how I found my passion for cycling through the distaste of running and swimming. More proof that, though hate sometimes wins, love will eventually triumph. Love trumps Hate.