Sunday, June 12, 2011

Best Race I Won't Do This Year

There are several ways to identify a high quality, challenging race. Without going into the specific details of race selection, race distance, prize purses, governing bodies, host organizations, race director philosophies, etc., there may be a simple way to find an event that meets your needs.

Judge a Book By Its Cover
The first triathlon was invented by a running club in San Diego in the 1970s. Their goal was to cross train. Later on, a group of military guys made a bar bet in Hawaii. The result of the bar bet was the Ironman. For a while, the Ironman was the only gig in town. And by town, I mean the United States. And by the United States, I mean Hawaii. That race has been modified but has kept its prestige.

Since the advent of the Ironman, several races have popped up carrying the '-Man' brand. If you are thinking about a hosting a race, if you want immediate attention in the triathlon community, add the word 'Man' to your race title. It shows you mean business. Take for example (and these are just races off the top of my head, too lazy to research at this point), Eagleman, Mooseman, Musselman, Timberman, Skinnyman, and the Mulletman.

Mind you, this is not a gender thing. Women are actively encouraged to participate, mostly because straight dudes feel funky hanging out in lycra all by themselves. If you are looking for high quality female only races, they tend to end in '-Girl', such as 'IronGirl.' As stated in the title, no boys allowed.

Granted, the title of a '-Man' does not guarantee a good race. But, if you tack the man on to the end of your race, you'd better bring it. Triathletes are exploratory but fickle. They are willing to try anything at least once. Put on a bad show and it's off to the forums to bash you into smitherines.

The Latest "Man" Race
This year on July 16th, I will be competing in a 'man' race known as the Musselman. I signed up for this race months ago, back when the prices for registration were still relatively cheap. A couple of months later, I came across this race and I am kicking myself. Had I been patient, I'd drop the Musselman like a lead weight and head off to Port Austin Michigan (violating my 2 hour drive rule).

Enter the "BEERMAN". This race has a lot going on and since the race director, Jon, has attached the "Man", you know it had better be awesome. By all reasonable expectations, it will be.

The race diverts from traditional triathlons in that it is staged. Unsure what this means? It basically says that you get to rest in between disciplines. There are 4 stages held over the course of a single day. 
Stage 1: 5K run (see, not too bad)
Stage 2: 1 mile swim in Lake Huron (careful of the Canadians)
Stage 3: 40k cycle, draft legal but only off your own teammates (I have no teammates, maybe I could buy some)
Stage 4: Beer mile- Distance: you guessed it, 1 mile on a track.

Fine Print
Most of the stages are straight forward. Run. Swim (with a wetsuit if you like). Bike. Run. It's that last run that makes this event special. You must drink a beer. Then run a lap. Then drink a beer. Continue until you have covered 1 mile (that's 4 laps and 4 beers in case you didn't pay attention in high school). BUT, focus here, you cannot drink crappy, Bud Lime or anything containing the words "light" or "lite". Your brew, provided by you, must be 5% ABV or greater. Next, if you yack on any particular lap, that lap doesn't count and you must re-beer and re-lap. Seriously, leave your fraternity house gimmicks at home (or at least in the car), they are not allowed on the course. Using a bong or a wide mouth can will result in public shame and/ or disqualification. Just don't try it.

Here are the official rules (with my commentary)
1.    This event is FREE. No whining, bitching, complaining, or lawsuits. (I wish this rule was the norm. Thanks Jon for being real)
2.    Participants must support themselves. No food or aid will be provided. Come prepared as you would for training. (Can one really train for an event like this?)
3.    Depending on the number of hopefuls to become BEERMEN, I may require teams to get their own escort on the swim. This also depends on the location of the swim (still TBD). Kayaks are available for rent in downtown Port Austin. (Given rule #1, I doubt most people will actually listen to this rule)
4.    No doping! (But dopes are highly encouraged)
5.    Cyclists must wear helmets and obey all traffic laws. (No comment, just common sense)
6.    Any conventional Tri, road, cross or mountain bike is fine. I don't care if you are riding a Cervelo P4 or your Mom's huffy. However, if you show up with some goofball recumbent you will not be included in the results and will most likely be mocked. (Agreed. Where do people buy those recumbent bikes anyway?)
7.    Participants are responsible for their own timing. Bring a watch! (Or just make up a time, I doubt there will be many prizes anyway)
8.    Bring your own beer. Must be 5% alcohol by volume or greater. (I think you should get time bonuses for higher %ABV beers. Work that in for next year.)
9.    All beermile participants must have designated drivers or walk/ bike home (Can't we just sleep on the track?)
10.  I reserve the right to make up any rule at anytime. Failure to adhere to my rules can result in your ejection from BEERMAN and public humiliation. (This is a common line placed in most race rules by all RDs. You really should read your race waiver more carefully. We call it the CYA rule.)
If you are interested, send a message off to Please include name, age, email, phone #, team name, and potential other teammates names. (Teammates not required). If you are female, please send along measurements and pictures. There is a race flyer that has more information, such as where to stay, FAQs, and some words of encouragement for the common folk.  Since I cannot figure out how to attach a document to the blog and don't wish to copy it in for fear of making a really long post, I'll keep it on my hard drive. If anyone wants the flyer, comment on the post and I'll figure something out. Or, you can ask Jon in your registration message. Or, even better, you can find the race on FaceBook.

Again, I will NOT be doing this race in 2011. Non-attendance should not be taken for non-desire. I have already made commitments before I caught wind of this event. If it is indeed successful and if Jon decides to move the event up a week in 2012, I will probably make the trek. I do hope to get some follow-up information after the event. It sounds like a blast. Non- USAT sanctioned... The Beerman has all the makings of grandeur and is deserving of the "Man" in its title.


  1. Details can be found on our FB page:

    Or, as above, email to register or get the flyer in PDF.


  2. Thanks Jonathan. I edited the post to put the FB link in the main body. Good luck to all the BeerMan-ers

  3. I was hoping someone would adapt the "pub run" for tri, but drinking and swimming is generally frowned upon. Perhaps a tri format with beers in transition, and as bike handups on the course ....Hmmmm. A three hour pub tri (run) could be really challenging.