Athlete Diary: David Lombardo, 2015 U-23 National Champion Part II

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Athlete Diary: David Lombardo, 2015 U-23 National Champion Part II

Blog by David Lombardo, 2015 U-23 National Champion of Klean Team USA – Sponsored Hagens Berman U-23 Cycling Development Team

The following is part two of a two-part blog series written by David Lombardo as he reflects on his cycling experience and being an athlete, competitor and 2015 national champion. In this piece, David breaks down how he found himself racing bikes and his experience at 2015 U-23 National Championships.

Part II:

Going into the criterium I had no expectations; I just went into the race hoping that I could help out the team as much as possible. The course was technical and included six turns, four of them back-to-back. We knew that it would be important to stay at the front, as crashes were likely. I was lucky enough to receive a call up offered to the top-20 ranked riders in the field. This was a huge relief, since that meant I would not have to waste any extra energy moving up to the front.

Cal Giant went on the offensive right at the start, sending a rider off the front. As the rider started to get a solid gap, Hagens Berman emerged at the front and brought back the rider after a couple of laps of chasing. Almost as soon as we brought him back, another rider, Ansel Dickey, attacked and got a solid gap with Airgas–Safeway rider Justin Mauch.

I saw the danger in this move, as two of the major teams were present. I launched an attack and went all-in to bridge on up to the break. After almost a lap and a half of chasing, I made it up to the break, which now consisted of the three of us. I knew that I had gone deep to make the bridge and needed to recover a little bit, so after about a lap of sitting on, I started to work, and the three of us kept it rolling smoothly, keeping the gap back to the field the same.

With around 12 laps to go, what seemed to be an absolute disaster struck. Justin put in a little move going into the most difficult turn of the course, an uphill, off-camber turn. Trying to make up the gap, I took the turn too fast and slid out. I thought my race was over as the pain of the road rash consumed the left side of my body. Everyone around me started to yell, “Go to the pits!” I jumped up and started to run to the pits, but had no clue how to get there. I had a little panic attack that I wouldn’t get there in time to be put back in the race.

Luckily, I reached the pits just in time to be put back in the race with 10 laps to go. There was still a lot of racing to go, so I continued to help out by taking my pulls, despite the pain. At the instruction of our director, David Richter, I knew exactly what had to be done in order to win the race from a sprint., As the two other riders started to launch attacks, I made sure to keep calm and do my best to keep the three of us together. Going into the last lap, we were still together and we had a big enough gap back to the field that it was almost certain we were going to stay away. I luckily ended up third wheel, the exact spot I wanted to be in, with Justin on the front then Ansel sitting in right in front of me.

Right before the second-to-last turn, I attacked and started my sprint. I put a little gap into the Ansel, who got onto my wheel going into the last turn. But I kept going full out and I was able to hold off Ansel to come across the line — in absolute shock. The team had worked to absolute perfection, blocking any counter moves and making sure any chase would be shut down for me. There is no way that I would have been able to win a national championship without the help from my teammates!

As I reflect on the success I’ve had this year, it’s impossible to ignore the importance proper nutrition has played, equally important as a solid training program. I believe that my success at nationals is in part due to my focus on a balanced diet and nutrition. Maintaining a well-balanced nutrition program with the support of Klean Athlete has been a big contributor to my success. With Klean Athlete, I can always make sure that I am getting everything I need to keep up on my training. Klean has played an important role in my daily routine and recovery process. You can train as much as you like, but if you are not recovering sufficiently, you will not make the proper gains.

Cycling is my passion and will be a part of my life for many years to come. With Klean Athlete, I know that my body will be healthy enough to take it as far as possible.

“It would be a dream come true to call myself a professional athlete, and through hard work and dedication,  I hope to make that dream come true in the near future. Hopefully I can make the next step up into the professional ranks in the near future…”

You can follow David on Twitter.


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