true love [for lotto-belisol]

[UPDATE: WE WON!!! Thanks for all the support!]

When Lotto-Belisol announced a Valentine's Day contest, with a VIP weekend trip to Paris on the last weekend of this year's Tour on the line, I had to come up with something good.
With a little a lot of help from my sister, and a couple of pictures stolen from Adam's Twitter feed, plus that Photoshop masterpiece made by Josh...this was born:

Happy Valentine's Day...and keep your fingers crossed for me!

[You can see all the submissions on Lotto's FB page here.]

bike rides and valentine's day

I saw the guy move from that same table to another across the room as soon as its prior occupants vacated it, and still I didn’t get it. I made a bee line for that precious table at Cafe Fixe; prime, coveted real estate in the sparsely furnished cafe. I put down my Americano, opened my notebook, and took a backseat to the argument unfolding between ex-s at the table in front of me.
I can only imagine the importance attached to an issue that will instigate near-shouting matches involving spitting out the phrase, “it was only a fucking kiss, i didn’t do anything else with him, okay?!” in the middle of a very quiet coffee shop while everyone else sort of stiffened their necks to keep from turning and staring. And while I’ve been guilty of the same crime of fighting in public, that certainly didn’t keep me from passing judgment. But come on, I mean, I was literally 3 feet away from them! How could I not?!
Ah, love. So complicated. And to complicate things even more, there’s Valentine’s Day coming up. Yup, that’s Monday. And no, I’m not implying anyone forgot about it.
But just in case you did, or you just haven’t found that perfect gift yet, or you haven’t decided what to heavily hint at wanting, or you just want to know what I would get for myself because I am philosophically opposed to the celebration of Valentine’s Day but am not opposed to buying myself things, here’s a list, compiled with my bike and a ride in mind:
Rapha Women’s Winter Collar


Yeah, I have the black one. But assuming that I would be content with one color would be like implying that I could live the rest of my life painting my nails the same shade of red. Not possible. Besides, it’s pink. And as most of my gear is in the exciting shade of black, a splash of feminine color is always welcome. These collars can keep you hot [literally], and should be on everyone’s must have list. Unless, of course, you live in California or you have somehow managed to pink out your bike, kit, shoes, iphone cover, and helmet and have consequently turned yourself in the personification of Valentine’s Day in flux. In which case, please do not buy this product.
Chomper Body Muscle Butter


Mr. G + D had a jar of this goodness a few months ago and after rides would slather it on his legs. And I would start breathing deeply. Panting, almost. Not to accentuate my chest [although I can use help in that department, too] but because it smelled so good. Like a walking peppermint. My mouth is actually sort of watering thinking about it. And no offense to Mr. G + D, but it’s the idea of minty yumminess massaged into my legs post-ride, combined with heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that’s getting my juices going. It doesn’t prickle like embrocation, either, so even with this stuff on your legs, you’re free to pursue whatever activities are in store, post-ride.
Skins Women's Travel & Recovery Long Tights


Sent via Josh, who suggested that I might want to “look good in the bedroom,” [see the second bullet point] once I saw how sexy these are, I couldn’t say no. I mean, what kind of male cyclist would NOT be turned on by the image of me squeezed into these amazing compression tights? Just try to ignore the fact that those tights are on a male model. Sexy, right? Additional points for the brand name which is what we call condoms back in Japan.
But, okay, fine. These are way sexier.
Rapha Women’s Wind Jacket


To complete the outfit. In white, because it’s not entirely opaque and therefore completely appropriate as a seduction tool. And because anything with that “R” logo will get my cycling-and-style-obsessed boyfriend’s intensely focused attention faster than a really nice [bare] rack ever could.
And there you have it. The female cyclist's dream Valentine's Day. Just remember, even if you don't exchange presents on Monday, if you want to make a female bike nerd happy, going on that ride is still mandatory.

pink baby doll

Apparently, no matter how hard I try, it’s not going to go away. And everyone’s buzzing about it anyway. So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?
Yeah, that’s right Valentine’s Day; you’re getting an undeserved shout-out. Happy now you fucked up, poor excuse for a holiday?
Now, now, don’t say I’m bitter, BECAUSE I’M NOT. No, really, I’m not. But judging by the sheer number of newspaper articles [whether this is really newsworthy is a completely different question, of course] advising the masochistic boyfriend on how to appease the Valentine-zilla that girlfriends tend to morph into come February 14th, the “holiday” consistently degenerates into the absurd well in advance of its celebration. Attached girls scramble to buy lace contraptions that will simultaenously push up and together while their single counterparts buy gallons of ice cream and too many cheesy movies on-demand. Meanwhile boyfriends try to devise ways not to get the life squeezed out of their balls, knowing full well that most things they do won’t cut it.


Why can’t this weekend be like any other? More importantly, why in God’s name did I have to choose this cursed holiday as the day I put down payment on my track bike frame almost a year ago?
And then I had to go with the pink cranks and rims. As if I needed another reminder of that one Valentine’s Day when - armed with courage that can only be derived from a persuasive best friend - I somehow ended up in a Victoria’s Secret dressing room in a pink, lacy babydoll. Patches of reason and logic did seep through from time to time [“what in the world am I doing?”], but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Yeah, I know. How many bad frat boy stories have you heard that started with that line?


I suppose it applies quite well to my track bike, too. It seemed a good idea at the time to choose one gear over 21. It seemed a good idea at the time to spend too much on pink anchors for rims and a powdercoated front brake that’s just going to come off when the bike hits the track. It all seemed like a good idea at the time. Which is just another way of saying now that I think about it, what kind of drugs was I on?
Maybe a little bit of stupid, and a little bit of crazy. Or a lot of both, given the fact that I’m probably looking at a good year - two, if I stick to what I want - until I can afford to buy a solid road bike. But it was Valentine’s Day, and while I might think it’s ridiculous, no one said I was immune.
Besides, unlike that pink babydoll, I'm going to keep squeezing every drop of my investment out of that track bike. At least until knee failure.

bailout package

I know I said that Valentine's Day doesn't mean much to me - and it really doesn't.
But it's a great excuse to go out and buy something you've sort of fallen for. I won't say "fallen in love with" though, because that requires a certain amount of time and care. Buying something on Valentine's Day is mostly for that high that instant gratification gives you; you just have to hope it lasts you until February 15th.

post valentine’s

My last Valentine's Day purchase was a pair of black, pointy-toed, stiletto shoes one year in college. They're predictably impractical and the thought of dancing, drinking, and bar-hopping-induced blisters still makes me cringe, despite the fact that they're plenty broken in. Still, I don't regret buying them, and they've given me more than a simple 24-hour shopper's high.
Since then, though, I could never justify a Valentine's Day purchase precisely because it was only to make myself feel better for a few hours about a silly "holiday." Valentine's Day, and all the glittery, red, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that come with it, wins if you have to spend your money to make yourself feel better due to supposedly miserable single-dom. Valentine's Day could not win.

post v day 2

...Until yesterday. For what it's worth, I was planning this for a while, and it just so happened that my intended date of purchase [I was hoping mid-January] ran into this month. Okay, I admit that I did sort of figure it'll make Valentine's Day a little more significant this year...but it really wasn't for any kind of instant gratification.
Besides, I'm not actually going to be able to see or touch whatever I purchased until later this week, at the earliest. And this really wasn't a totally spontaneous decision either; I'm pretty sure this is going to last me a few solid years, and it's not nearly as impractical as those stilettos.
Although, uncharacteristically, I am anticipating [just a little, tiny bit] falling in love.


It's Valentine's Day!!!
The above statement actually means nothing to me, but I figure I should just put it out there. Okay, that's not entirely true; I did give out kisses [chocolate ones, only!] to my favorite bike mechanics.
Having thrown my chain twice in the past 24 hours, I hustled to IBC today to pick up that new pink chain, and possibly a new chainring. Chris worked on my bike again, mentioning how he had changed the chainring bolts a few days ago:
Chris: They were too long for the chainring so her chainring was wobbling.
Me: Yeah there was a chain guard on there earlier. But I didn't put that chainring on...but...yeah...
Eric: But someone did.
Me: ...yeah....
Me and Eric: .......
Eric: ....that was such a classic "my boyfriend knows so much about bikes" moment.
So true. And so appropriate on Valentine's Day. So maybe this might be appropriate too:

I'm actually going to give this away. That's right. Free. Shipping included in the word "free."
What do you have to do? Well, send me your best bike-related Valentine's Day story. Or the craziest bike-related thing you've done for someone that you <3. You'll obviously have to be okay with your entry - if it wins - being posted on this site, but other than that, all you have to do is send in your story!

The deadline is February 28th. Yup, you have until the end of the month. So get emailing!
In terms of logistics, you might notice that the hat isn't 100% done. That's because I will resize it if you don't have a huge head. It's made right now to fit people with larger heads [about 24 inches around] so mostly everyone can submit a story and not have to worry about the hat not fitting.

Good luck!