People who race - is it like Mary Austin?

Just completed my first Mary Austin, just barely. Wanted to quit but decided to suck it up and embrace the pain (Chad’s notes really helped in this workout).

When you race, is this the level of physical/mental pain that you have to endure during events?

No, racing is harder. :wink: It’s also exponentially more fun.


More like Basin but without the rests :hot_face:

Interesting, I’ve never done a workout like that!

It’s easy to want to race. I’ve been wanting to do it for a while now. But the amount of effort, commitment, perserverance and dedication that goes along with it is staggering.

A huge nod of respect to the entire TR community that is able to train like this.

Basin is one of my bête noires - I really struggle on ramped efforts. Even the minus versions I find hard.

If you want to race then do it! Well maybe not now depending on where you live but when things go back to ‘normal’. If you have a sub 200watt FTP then yeah some races might have you dragging on your limit and still being dropped. But if you have a 300W FTP then that exact same race might be super easy to finish with the group but difficult to win. The only way to know how hard racing will be is to do it. Hard group rides with the racers in your area can give you a decent idea also.

This might sounds dumb but every single person who has ever raced their bike had never done it before their first race. If you enter the race and you find yourself way in over your head and not enjoying it then you can just stop pedaling so hard. Road races aren’t super expensive or anything so it won’t cost you much to try!


Once you start racing, it becomes a motivating factor…and the effort / commitment is not so intimidating.


Yeah - and I started racing before I started “training” - go for it. (when it’s safe/appropriate). For most of us racing is the reason to train. I wouldn’t do structured training if I didn’t race. I’d just ride for fun. Wait… actually I’d still do some VO2 Max workouts because of the fun factor with them. :laughing:

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I see MA. Yes it looks hard AF.
But i dont see it much more harder than something like

Tinker +5 is 5x8-minute intervals at 105% FTP with 5-minute recoveries between intervals.


Picket Guard consists of 5x12-minute over-under intervals alternating between 2 minutes at 90% FTP and 2 minutes at 105% FTP with 4-minute recoveries between intervals.

What makes this wo so hard? Is it the 1 minute rest between interval the secret sauce?

not really, i would say something like mallaroy / keith / williamson

It’s really not like any workout that I’m aware of, if it’s a hard race


Not really, sometimes can be really easy the whole race other times, off and on, other times just on the whole race. really dependent on the course and wether it’s a Crit or RR.

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There’s no defined and expected rest periods in a race. As such, you can never really compare it to a TR workout because the not-knowing is exhausting in and of itself.

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You tend not to notice the effort so much when racing, as you just do what you need to do to stay with the group or attack etc. You just notice when you are getting to the limit and cant keep up anymore, then POP!

FYI this is my most recent crit, fairly typical for the course, all corners can be taken without brakes here, so its just the slight undulations and following attacks. There were 2 priems/primes in this one


To be honest, the first five or ten minutes of a race can be quite like MA.

Typically someone will go from the gun, so you’re straight into threshold or VO2 territory. Then someone else will take it up and so-on and so-forth. It’s like a selection process. Riders want to see who has brought their legs and who’s there to race, not roll around in the pack.

After the initial hard efforts, things do tend to calm down a little. If you’re still in the mix, I guess it’s a little like MA again. You’re trying to recover whilst working at a high level.

As others have already said, I’d encourage you to get out there and try racing.

When Coronavirus locked us down, I hit the trainer, and I hit it HARD. I changed from a mid-volume to a high volume plan, and really knuckled down. When lockdown lifted, and racing started again, I thought I’d be the front of the pack!
What I discovered instead is that EVERYONE had the same thought, and the level of racing just went through the roof. Instead of winning every race, I found myself having my teeth kicked in, race after race, after race.

And you know what? I’m just so happy to be back on the track racing again, that I just can’t wait for the next one.

So: go race. Do it. It sucks. It’s amazing. It’s incredible. It’s awful. It’s addictive.

I’m a pan-flat crit racer in C-grade, but I’ve been signing up for every race on the calendar - kermesses, road races, hell, even the state road race championships. I’m getting smashed, but loving (almost) every second of it!


If you want to race, race! Don’t be intimidated by it, and certainly not by the intensity. Suffering in a race in my experience is much much easier than suffering on the trainer, there’s maybe a little bit of nerves/dread/anticipation when you’re on the start line, but once you’re off you don’t get time to think about how much it’s hurting. Trying to hold a wheel, close a gap, get round a corner, etc is a far better distraction than the best music/podcast/movie will ever be when doing a TR workout.

If you haven’t already, maybe dip your toe in with some Zwift races. Just sign up for a free trial and try a few if you don’t want to pay a subscription. You get all the motivation of racing and trying to hang on, but without the other baggage that comes with a race. The hassle of signing up in advance and getting there, getting a race license, fear of crashing, fear of coming last, etc. Well, I guess you can still come last but on Zwift you can just pull the plug and go make yourself a coffee instead of having to get to the finish and roll over the line!

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during a race i’m able to dig way deeper and while i may feel tired or burning legs during a race, i don’t notice it very much until afterwards.

during training there isn’t that element of competition that’s really exciting, so i always find training much harder. so if you’re able to finish a workout (or even keep up your consistency but knock down the intensity in training) i think you’ll be more than fine.

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Mary Austin is worse than racing (or childbirth) and anyone you says different is taking crazy pills.

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Isnt Mary Austin a prep workout for Leconte? Leconte seems like a more realistic race simulation.