What 30 years has taught me

This June 30th happens to be my champagne birthday! Unfortunately there is still no champagne to win, but there might be soon!


It is always interesting for me to reflect on the many ways I’ve spent my birthdays over the years. The National Championships always seem to fall very close to my birthday, so sometimes the day is spent racing, and sometimes traveling. The occasional birthday is spent at home celebrating with friends and family. I’m not much of a party person, but a summertime bonfire BBQ with a group of friends is my ideal way to celebrate. I’m really looking forward to being home this year as a small thing to be grateful for, amidst all the chaos happening in the world.


I always thought I would have more clarity in my life when I hit my thirties. 2020 has been anything but clear, and the future of even the next few months is full of uncertainty. But thirty years has taught me that as much as we can try to plan our path, life usually has other ideas. However, I am choosing to view life as an adventure, and I choose to embrace the unknown, to stay adaptable, and to take opportunities as they arise.


The next few months do in fact hold some clarity, with the possibility that the women’s peloton will return to racing in August. The UCI released a new calendar, with Strade Bianche in Italy scheduled for August 1st.


I am looking forward to getting together with the team in July, as it is planned to meet for a training camp in Europe. The medical team at Sunweb have worked hard to develop ways that we can operate as a group to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy. The UCI have also released their health guidelines and protocols now for teams and organizers to resume racing safely. Some protocols involve testing before every race, staying in team “bubbles”, and specific instructions around minimizing risk in general at an event. They will also take regional health information into account to determine if an event is too risky to hold at a certain location.

2017 GP Gatineau podium – photo credit: Rob Jones – Canadiancyclist.ca

These extra measures will take mental energy too, as we all want to stay healthy and not pose a risk to others. I believe if everyone makes a collective effort to follow the rules, then we can minimize the risks to ourselves and to each other. We all need to be kind when dealing with these extra measures and the accompanying stress that will come with a return to racing. I’m sure it will be a strange experience for everyone to be in a peloton after so many months of isolation.


We still need to see how things develop over the next month, but hopefully a return to racing will be a  positive sign that things are improving, allowing sport to return safely.

I would never have predicted that this is how I would enter my thirties, but I’m very curious to see what the future will hold. I look forward to racing soon and I’ll take a rain check for this year on the possibility of winning that birthday champagne. 🙂


To see how I’m preparing for the new season, follow me on Instagram at @leahkirchmann or Twitter @L_Kirch.


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