The Dreaded “6”

by now a lot of us are used to ranking workouts 1 through 5. We’ve all had 5s and we know what all out feels like. But there are a few—in the deep, dark memories, the ones that left permanent marks on us—that go beyond the 5.

As I say this, you’re already thinking of one. You recall it with pride and fear. This is the dreaded 6.

This is a thread for sharing the stories of the time you took it too far. Tell us about your 6.

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I’ll start: state championship crit that I thought I could win. Just before the race they extended it by 15 minutes, which made me think I couldn’t win, and announced a first lap prime, so I thought what the hell, I’ll go get my entry fee back. Rode away, got the prime, worked hard through the rest of the race, and spent the last 20 minutes battling cramps. The acceleration out of every corner felt like it would be the last one, it hurt so bad that I thought surely the legs will stop working now—but they just wouldn’t. Over and over again. Coast, turn, accelerate, “my legs are about to seize,” repeat. Pack finish. Never felt prouder.

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