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Triathlete Love: The Language of Love

Real-life triathlete couples share the unique, hilarious and swoon-worthy ways they express love.

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To love a triathlete means to speak a unique dialect of the language of love. Where some people lavish their sweetheart with flowers, chocolates, and shiny things, triathletes express their affection through bike cleanings and mid-race pep talks.

I never thought a bike ride would be a place for romance, especially not on the day I bonkedbadlynear the summit of Mount Lemmon, a 26-mile climb in southern Arizona. My husband, Neil, had given me a 60-minute head start and issued a challenge to not to let him catch up before reaching the top. Twenty-five miles later, I was gritting my teeth, spinning my gears and praying not to fall over from fatigue. I had all but forgotten about our “race”more than anything, I just wanted to throw my bike off the side of the mountain.

Suddenly, I felt a hand on the small of my back. Neil had caught me and was giving me a push toward the summit.

“You’re doing great, babe!”

I wasn’t doing great. Still, that was the sweetest lie he could have uttered.

RELATED – Triathlete Love: The Hangry Games

My five years with Neil has taught me that Triathlete Love comes in all sorts of beautiful packages, none of which are shiny and heart-shaped. I asked other triathlon couples for the most romantic ways their triathlete has shown love, and their answers are enough to cause a serious case of the Awws. Get ready to swoon, lovebugs:

“I was in really rough shape after finishing an Ironman. Halfway through my shower, I couldn’t stop shivering. It was so bad, I couldn’t walk, I just sat down on the bathroom floor, naked and shaking. My new girlfriendwho at that point hadn’t seen “the goods” yet, if you know what I meanpulled the blankets off the bed, wrapped me up, and rubbed my arms and legs until I felt better. She was a real pro.”

“My husband always wakes up 10 minutes before me to make a pot of coffee and put bottles in both of our bike trainers.”

“One time, I got three flats and ran out of tubes on a training ride. I had to call my wife to pick me up. It was so hot outside and I was a long ways away from our home, so I knew it would take a while for her to get to where I was (which was the middle of nowhere). I was glad when she finally showed up, but I was even more glad when I saw she had stopped at the 7-11 on the way to bring me a giant Slurpee.”

“She always lets me have the last slice of pizza on long run day. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.”

“We live in an old house that doesn’t have a great plumbing. He always lets me shower first after workouts so I can get first dibs on what little hot water we have.”

“On my 40th birthday, he gave me a new bike and he suggested we go for a birthday ride together. It wasn’t until about halfway through the ride that I saw ‘Will you marry me?’ was painted on the top tube! I was so surprised, I screamed and almost crashed the damn thing.”

“I know it’s corny, but I can’t have anyone other than my wife do my body marking before a race. She’s my good luck charm. Even when she’s doing the same race as me and has her own stuff to deal with, she never gets annoyed when I ask her to do it. She carries a marker in her transition bag just for me. Sometimes she even puts a little heart on my calf next to my age.”

“I am a very heavy and very salty sweater when racing. Like, to the point of being crusty and kind of gross. My girlfriend still gave me a big hug and a kiss at the finish line and didn’t even say how nasty I was.”