Rider Diary

Rider Diaries with Leah Kirchmann

Newsletter

My off season this year looked different than any in recent history, keeping with the theme of 2020. It started with a two-week quarantine as I travelled back to Canada after the extended and condensed autumn season. This did help force me to rest as I was home after racing the Madrid Challenge at the start of November. Since the season ended so late, my break was not that long, and I was back on the bike again quite soon after my quarantine was over.

In past years, I would normally escape the cold and travel to some of my favourite roads in California or Arizona for winter training. However, with border closures and COVID risks,

I embraced the cold to spend December at home in Canada.

The weather started to turn as winter set in, and not too many people were keen to meet up to ride outdoors in temperatures below zero. This block took a lot of energy to brave the cold each day, but I made it more enjoyable by exploring trails on my cyclocross bike, baking yummy snacks to fuel my training, and bringing along a thermos of hot chocolate to warm myself up.

I will admit that I was counting down the days to team camp in Spain by the end of December!

My Christmas also looked different than usual, as I couldn’t travel to my hometown as usual to visit my parents and siblings, so the day was instead filled with video calls.

I flew back to Europe to kick off the New Year, first for a quarantine at the Keep Challenging Center in the Netherlands (where I also got to pick up my beautiful new Scott Addict and lots of other exciting new partner gear!), and then finally onto some warm weather and sunshine in Spain.

I feel so privileged to be allowed to travel for work and to prepare with the team for the season while there are so many rules and restrictions in place. The team is doing the best job they can to facilitate safe travel and training environments. For example, in Spain we had an entire hotel to ourselves, took two PCR tests before joining the group, operated in “bubbles”, wore masks at almost all times, and kept everything clean and sanitised.

It was so motivating to reconnect with teammates at team camp and talk about goals for the season.

There is still a lot of uncertainty as the pandemic rages on, but we are determined to control the factors we can and physically prepare ourselves for 2021 in the very best way possible.

My Christmas also looked different than usual, as I couldn’t travel to my hometown as usual to visit my parents and siblings, so the day was instead filled with video calls.

I flew back to Europe to kick off the New Year, first for a quarantine at the Keep Challenging Center in the Netherlands (where I also got to pick up my beautiful new Scott Addict and lots of other exciting new partner gear!), and then finally onto some warm weather and sunshine in Spain.

I feel so privileged to be allowed to travel for work and to prepare with the team for the season while there are so many rules and restrictions in place. The team is doing the best job they can to facilitate safe travel and training environments. For example, in Spain we had an entire hotel to ourselves, took two PCR tests before joining the group, operated in “bubbles”, wore masks at almost all times, and kept everything clean and sanitised.

It was so motivating to reconnect with teammates at team camp and talk about goals for the season.

There is still a lot of uncertainty as the pandemic rages on, but we are determined to control the factors we can and physically prepare ourselves for 2021 in the very best way possible.