I composed a love note on Valentine’s Day last year for my partner while sprawled across the backseat of my van with my shammies pulled down to my knees and a spoon of Nutella in my mouth. It was 2 a.m; we were racing duo at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo for our second year in a row. With the sharpie in my hand and the spoon still in my mouth, I rolled over into a modified happy baby pose and wondered how long the recovery for my crotch would be this time around. Two days? Three? My lady parts were being pulverized by my new saddle, but boy, oh boy, was my partner looking cute in the exchange tent when he handed me the popsicle stick baton and planted a sticky, vanilla Honey Stinger waffle coated kiss on my face. I was feeling a little sentimental – and possibly turned on, though I couldn’t really tell due to the damage from my saddle. I flopped back onto my belly, and in sloppy, slanted permanent marker on cardboard, I scrawled:
I miss you! My routine is to crawl into both sleeping bags with my shammies pulled down to my knees and eat pretzel’s dipped in Nutella [smiley face] [heart].
A lap later, he wrote back:
It feels very nice to change your socks, and I think we can win if we keep it up.
To which I responded:
I sheered off part of my derailer! That was shitty. I was scared I wasn’t going to make it back. This is way fun! Can’t wait to smooch you on the podium (& post it all over social media – haha!)
To which he scribbled back:
Wow, I guess you have a lot on your mind. I lost the good pen…
My partner’s reaction to my love notes was not exactly what I was hoping for, but racing my bike in circles for 24 hours was a big improvement over the last situation involving my attempt at seducing a Valentine. I gave up on Valentine’s cards in kindergarten.
It was past my bedtime the night I wrote my kindergarten crush a love note, too. Maybe not 2 a.m, but late by kindergarten standards. His name was Kevin, and back then he wasn’t much taller than my elbow. Sprawled on the living room floor with crayons and construction paper, I tried to imagine Kevin’s response to the question “will you be my Valentine?” – maybe he’d want to marry me. I promised Mom I’d go to bed if she spelled Valentine for me, but she made me sound it out anyway. The next morning at school, I nervously reached into Kevin’s cubby with the card and then projectile vomited all over his snow pants and backpack. Some puke even managed to splatter into the cubby of his best friend, a boy who would tease me on the playground a few weeks later, and who I would straddle and then punch over and over again until a recess aide pulled me off of him.
Before last year at Old Pueblo, barfing into Kevin’s cubby was my only Valentine’s Day memory. I probably could have created some fond memories my first time racing OP on Valentine’s Day, but I spent the entire night fighting a flat tire. Actually, I spent the entire night thinking evil thoughts about my partner who had rested the rear wheel of my bike in a cholla the night before the race. In the end, it was a poor tire choice that caused the flat, but the image of pulling my flat tire out of a cholla the morning before the race was burned into my mind, and by midnight I had decided my partner had done it on purpose. Obviously, he was trying to get me to break up with him.
This year, Old Pueblo falls a few days after Valentine’s Day. My partner and I are both racing solo this year. After work today, I’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day by packing up for the race – without my partner, because he won’t be home from work until around 8 p.m. tonight. He’ll be exhausted when he gets home, but that’s okay with me because I have two dates lined up for the evening – a Giant XTC who just received a pre-race tune and my brand new Giant Anthem who was just built at Flagstaff Bike Revolution this morning! Instead of writing a love note this year, I’ll be constructing a race plan that involves ménage à trois for 24 hours with these two fast as f*** bikes.