UCI Road World Championships: Leah Kirchmann making the most of final days of her career

The Canadian is set to retire this weekend after riding in the road race.

Photo: Tim de Waele / Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

WOLLONGONG, Australia (VN) — Leah Kirchmann is soaking up every moment of the UCI Road World Championships.

The 32-year-old Canadian announced her retirement from racing late last month and the eight-day event in Wollongong, Australia will be her swansong.

Kirchmann has enjoyed a 12-year career that has seen her consistently race at the top of the sport and claim multiple national titles. She is trying absorb the moment as much as she can without letting the occasion get to her.

“I’ll just try to enjoy every moment here with the team and to make the most of it and just enjoy it, that’s my goal. Afterward, I am planning to enjoy a small vacation in Australia so then I can let it all sink in and do some more reflecting,” Kirchmann said.

“I think I approached today and this whole week like any other race and any other championship. It doesn’t feel any different for me. I wanted to make sure everything was the same and that I’m going through the same routines and just making sure that I get the most out of myself while also enjoying the moment that I’m here.”

Also read: Leah Kirchmann announces retirement following road world championships

When the week is over, Kirchmann will be able to really reflect on her career and think about what comes next. She doesn’t know what her future will hold, but she’s looking forward to finding out.

“It’s nice to have this last big goal to focus on for the end of the season, but I’m also excited to start thinking about what comes next. I’m really open to new opportunities and I’m looking forward to it,” Kirchmann said.

Kirchmann’s final week of racing began with the 34.2km time trial last Sunday, where she finished 17th at 3:04 behind the winner Ellen van Dijk. It was a solid performance that left her with nothing else to give.

“It was quite a technical course and a tough one but for me I like a more technical course. It gives you something always focus on. Personally, I felt really strong in the first lap and then I was fading in the second. I just tried to hold onto as much speed as I could, but I really left everything I could out on the course. So, I can be satisfied with that,” she said.

Kirchmann is set to race again Wednesday afternoon with the mixed team relay before turning her focus to the final event of her career, the road race. Thanks to some strong performances throughout the season, Canada secured a quota of five riders for Saturday’s race.

It will be a mixture of youth and experience in the squad, which will have an underdog status among some far bigger nations but still has a good chance of taking home a strong result.

“I think the road race is going to be really tough but I’m excited to race with Canada. We have a good mix of riders on our team, young and talented up-and-coming riders, with Alison [Jackson] and I the experienced veterans. We’re hoping to work well together to come up to get the best result for Canada,” Kirchmann said.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.