Road to Tempe 2015: One Week to Go!

In exactly one week on October 18, Ragen Chastain claims she will swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles, all in under 8-1/2 hours at the IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona in Tempe, AZ.

Today Ragen posted her last Fake Selfie Sunday before the big day. It’s also her birthday, and nothing says “Happy Birthday Ragen!” like sending her money. Since the previous update, Ragen has finally managed to figure out how to completely strip the metadata from her photos. Nothing says honesty, integrity, and openness like removing all metadata after being caught intentionally trying to hide the creation time of your training selfies because half of them are fake. We should apparently expect another interview with Ragen this week as she managed to find yet another media outlet that doesn’t care about fact checking her ridiculous claims. She was also contacted by a filmmaker who wants to include her in a documentary about being “fit and overweight”.

Today is also the final day of the Fat Activism Conference, Ragen’s most recent fat moneymaking scheme. It all wraps up with a grand finale 45 minute talk with Jeanette DePatie and Ragen herself. Thrilling material as usual, no doubt (we won’t be sending her any money for the pleasure of listening in).

On Wednesday, Ragen flies across the country to speak at Castleton University on October 15. On Friday, October 16, she flies straight to Tempe while her disabled girlfriend Julianne makes the six hour drive there through the desert with Ragen’s gear by herself. Multiple Dances with Facts readers have privately expressed serious concern about the possibility of deep vein thrombosis from such a long drive for someone who suffers from such severe obesity (she is self-admittedly over 500 lbs). Ragen would no doubt call this “concern trolling” and deny any link with weight.

Since Ragen is probably arriving on Friday evening, we assume she will check in on Saturday. We have a copy of the official schedule here. All times are in MST. Athlete check-in is from 9 am to 4 pm. There is also a mandatory bike check-in from 10 am to 4 pm. Athletes have no access to their bikes until 5 am the following day, and they must remain in the transition area.

The race kicks off at 6:30 am on Sunday. Ragen’s bib number is 1045, and live tracking and web cams at transition areas will be available on the IRONMAN site (links will be posted when available). Ragen is in wave 9 of the swim start (F 35-39), which leaves at 7:10 am. There is a timing mat at the entrance so we’ll know if she actually starts the race. Six waves of swimmers follow her wave and will have to pass her. Results will be available on the official results page, and race photos will be posted on FinisherPix.

This week we’ll be looking back at Ragen’s training over the last year as a lead-up to Tempe. We’ll also have an update from our resident writer and Arizona 70.3 competitor. And finally, you can look forward to a post about the deeply ironic name Ragen mistakenly chose for her road bike (hint: “Phyxius” doesn’t mean what she thinks it does).

7 days until Tempe!

26 thoughts on “Road to Tempe 2015: One Week to Go!

  1. Thank you for the handy collection of links. Unfortunately, with all this scrutiny and the lack of wiggle room she has, I think the chances of her showing up are almost nil.

  2. I want to believe in her. I want to see her do it, or make a damn good attempt at it (hmm… if I’m not one of her ‘supporters’ does this make me a ‘concern troll’?). I would love nothing more than to eat my hat next week. I’ve followed this saga for so long, I really do not want to be disappointed.

    Thanks for all your honest work up to this point – I hope it will shed light on future sponsors if Ragen does indeed weasel out at the last minute. She shouldn’t be allowed to carry a “soon-to-be” title if she has no intention of actually earning it.

  3. She’ll get too many death threats this week to be able to afford to go in a public event where someone could attack her while she’s defenceless in the water.

  4. Why is she flying direct & making Julianne drive alone? With it being only a six-hour drive it’s hard to imagine she’ll save enough time (considering early check-in and wait times at the airport, etc) to claim it’s for that reason.

      • The fact that Ragen would accept a speaking gig all the way across the country just before the triathlon is very suspicious to me. Here’s my theory on the sequence of events:

        Castleton is paying for her round trip air fare (via Tempe on the way home) as part of her compensation. Even though she has no intention of competing, she needs to show up in Tempe to maintain the charade.

        A couple of her friends and her mother are flying to Tempe for the event and have presumably secured hotel rooms. Ragen will end up sharing one with her mother, but Mom picks up the whole tab. Julianne will not make the trip due to “car trouble”, as many have speculated. (Her blog entry about the corrupted broccoli salad mentions car trouble; specifically the air conditioner. Maybe she was setting the stage, or maybe just a coincidence.)

        Shortly after arriving in Tempe, Ragen will receive a prearranged phone call from Julianne reporting that the car AC is again on the fritz, it can’t be fixed in time, and she can’t drive 6 hours across the hot desert without it.

        Ragen is forced to withdraw from the competition because she has no equipment, darn it!! She spends a couple of days in Tempe. Her unsuspecting friends and her mother treat her to meals, etc, to boost her spirits. She flies home (courtesy of Castleton) and applies for a refund for the entrance fee (I think it was noted somewhere that she purchased insurance). In the blog post describing the debacle, she will admit to flying home to LA, but in typical fashion, won’t mention that she had the ticket in her pocket all along.

        We’ll find out soon enough how she spins it. I just wonder if she was ever serious about participating, or if she cooked up this (or a similar) scheme when she realized she didn’t have a chance of finishing in time.

  5. Although there is no basis for this, I hope she trained, improved her fitness/health and will legitimately attempt this race. Admittedly, none of the information on her training blog — to the limited extent there is any — points in this direction.

    Unfortunately, I suspect this will end with inadvertent contact on the swim being spun as an “attack” in the water. She will lose her goggles in this “attack” and be unable to complete the swim. She will report receiving hateful comments and little assistance from the volunteers in boats, except one nice person/crew will assist Ragen and tell her that she is a hero.

    • With six waves behind her, you’re absolutely right–that “attack” is going to happen. Open-water swims can be (and often are) near-complete chaos. Even if she hangs back in her division in an attempt to buy herself some space, there are going to be a lot of people in later waves who are going to come from behind her. It’s often difficult to navigate OWS and it’s not uncommon to get bumped or kicked.

      • Yes. I noticed that too. It made me laugh. Before grabbing my phone or camera, I would definitely dry my hands. And with a towel in hand, I would dry my face. It’s instinct. The water droplets on the face just seem contrived.

  6. Is it my imagination or did she recently change the strapline on her Ironfat blog from ‘soon to be Ironman’ to ‘working to be an Ironman’? If I’m right, it feels like the first hint that she knows she’s not going to be able to do it, and is subtly changing the narrative already.

  7. Open water/Masters Swimmer here. I regularly swim 15-16k yards per week in the pool and do around 2-4 open water events every Summer/Fall in the Pacific Ocean. The open water events are any where from 1-5 miles long. I can tell you with all certainty that she will not be able to finish the swim portion of her triathlon. Open water swimmer wet suits are very different from the one she has been posting pictures of. The biggest difference is the shoulder area; The suits are usually sleeveless to allow maximum freedom of movement. Ragen has a full suit that will certainly keep her warm, but will severely restrict her movements in the open water….It may not seem like that big of a deal, but over a 1.2 mile race course, IT WILL.
    Also, the race course itself. If a seagull divebombing near her freaked her out, how is she going to handle people swimming over and around her? Does she even realize that the wave of people all hitting a race course at once and racing to a buoy=pandemonium?

    The swim part of the race is unique because unlike the race/bike portion there is a high amount of Primal Fear people have about open bodies of water. It adds a completely different layer to preparing; you have to remain calm. I won’t even go into a rant about her lack of technique, because it’s pointless. My only hope for this portion is that she doesn’t endanger other swimmers by panicking and trying to hold on to one as they swim past .

  8. Living in much colder climes than Arizona, most/all our OWS race entrants- tri or otherwise wear full body wet suits. This includes our Olympic medalists. These suits have specific shoulder flexibility- unlike a surf wetsuit. Shoulderless suits tend to be the preserve of brave older women who are somehow impervious to hypothermia when swimming outdoors for ‘fun’. However, I can’t tell what sort Ragen’s wearing.

  9. Living in much colder climes than Arizona, most/all our OWS race entrants- tri or otherwise wear full body wet suits. This includes our Olympic medalists. These suits have specific shoulder flexibility- unlike a surf wetsuit. Shoulderless suits tend to be the preserve of brave older women who are somehow impervious to hypothermia when swimming outdoors for ‘fun’. However, I can’t tell what sort Ragen’s wearing.

  10. The design of her wetsuit is the least of her worries.

    She is neither physically nor mentally prepared for any of the three events.

    IF she shows up at the start, and IF she attempts to begin the first event, the only thing she is going to do is distract and disrupt other participants and race personnel.

  11. My bet would also be that some “unlucky” event during the swim happens, that way she could “prove” that she tried but just had destiny against her. One question: where do you get the information about Julianne and her 500 pounds ? Just curious 🙂

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