Kirk Willett will trade his responsibilities as Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team Director for a backpack full of books following this weekend's races in North Carolina.
Willett, 37, begins medical school at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland after he directs Toyota-United Saturday at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium in Charlotte and Sunday at the Hanes Park Criterium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"It's always exciting to move on to new things and new challenges," Willett said. "But at the same time, I've spent so much time investing and learning in one aspect of my life that I'm saying goodbye to something that's been a part of me for 20 years."
His plan to become a physician dates back to his pursuit of a career in medicine in the late 80s and early 90s. But he put the schooling on hold to start a career in racing that included time with the U.S. National Team (both domestically and abroad), as well as stints with the Nutra Fig, Mercury and Prime Alliance cycling teams.