by Chris Bagg and Gerry Forman, image courtesy of Dylan Haskin
Ed. Note—think triathlon has gone all mainstream and upmarket? Think again. Punk is alive and well, the DIY spirit captured by our most senior athletes. Gerry Forman brings us the story of Retireman VI this week. Gerry is one of the Original Gangster team members on the Wattie Ink. Elite Team, and truly embodies the family spirit of the group, functioning as its unofficial godparent.
This past week at Wattie Ink. Elite Team Camp, while setting up for our Thursday brick workout, team member Gerry Forman came up to me. "I'm taking off after today," he told me. "I've got to taper for my race on Saturday." This statement usually elicits a response from its object, and I couldn't resist. "What race?" I asked. "It's called 'Retireman!'" he said back, grinning widely. My interest was piqued. Wordplay AND triathlon? This was a dish too rich to pass up.
Turns out Retireman is in its sixth year, the brainchild of Al Allison. It's a totally informal affair, with no course markings, no draft marshals, no transition zone, no aid stations, and no finish line. It DOES, however, feature a finisher's medal. All of the Retireman participants are called "Amigos," a spirit reflected in the event and in those aforementioned finisher's medals. Where did it all come from, though?
"Al Allison, one of our Amigos, came up with the idea when he retired from the IRS," Forman told me over email." 2019 was number six, so it started five years ago. Most of the Amigos have done them all. We had medals for the first year and then brought them back for this edition—they're made by one of the Amigos. What people really want, it seems, is one of those bright neon shirts given as swag each year. Why'd we do it? The real impulse was Al wanting to do something at retirement date that would involve all his friends and include their families at the picnic. We picked Glorietta Bay because that's where many of us did our very first Tri with the TCSD. Each year Al lays out a course for all of us, with distances ranging from the sprint (which I did this year) up to a half-ironman. It really is a labor of love, and it gives us all the chance to get together, do some racing, and spend time with our families."
Retireman is a self-selected distance, with athletes taking part in a sprint distance all the way up to a half-ironman. Your "transition rack" is your car, and the "athlete meals" are supplied by the spouses and partners who set up a picnic after the event.
The Retireman VI athletes ready for this year's start
Athletes transitioning from swim to bike at the "Transition Zone" of their car trunks
Afterward, participants wear their finisher shirts and medals and relax in Coronado Park