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

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

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 one 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.

Bio: David Lombardo has been racing bikes competitively for seven years. He was born on March 22, 1996, in the Chicago suburbs, and that is where he calls home. Cycling has always been part of his life, as his father has been racing mountain bikes since he was born. David has found himself on five podiums at the U.S. National Road and Cyclocross Championships. He also raced in the Cyclocross World Championships in 2013. David has been a sponsored Klean Team athlete for one full season, during which he won his very first national championship.

Part I:

Cycling has been a part of my life since I was a little kid. I think the passion that I have for the sport started when I was maybe 2 or 3 and would travel with my dad to watch him race mountain bikes. As the years went by I kept traveling to races with my dad, watching him race while every once in a while jumping in the kids’ race. That all changed when he brought me to my first cyclocross race. I had no clue what to expect, but after showing up I instantly knew that next time I had to race. I was instantly hooked on cyclocross. It was the only thing I could think about and the only thing I wanted to do.

My parents saw the passion that I had for the sport, so they bought me my first race bike when I was 12. It was the coolest thing that I had ever seen. The next year I did my first full “cross” season, racing the local series called the ChiCrossCup. I continued strictly racing cross and each year I improved a little bit at a time. My first year in the 17-18 age group I had what could be thought of as my breakout year as a cyclocross racer. That year I had the opportunity to travel over to Europe with the Euro Cross Camp program, and I also had the opportunity to race at the world championships in Louisville. I also made the decision to race my first road season. My plan was to race on the road to try and improve my fitness for the start of the cross season. Nothing special happened that road season and I was a bit indifferent on my thoughts about road racing.

My plan had worked for the cross season. I was in a lot better shape and won my first UCI cyclocross race. But my season came to a sudden end when I broke my kneecap in a freak accident in my high school gym class. Instead of dwelling over the fact that my cross season was cut short, I made the decision to go all-in for the road season. I worked harder then I had ever before for the 2014 season, and I had one of my best seasons up to that point. With that success, which included a win at San Dimas, podium at the national championship road race and a trip to Europe with the US National Team, I earned a spot on the 2015 Hagens Berman U-23 Development Team.

The 2015 U-23 National Championships was an absolute dream come true. Thanks to my coach Doug Close and friend Billy Jones, I was able to travel to Aspen, Colorado in the month prior to the competition to acclimate to the altitude. I knew that this would be a very important race for me and an opportunity to make a name for myself. The month leading up to nationals I made sure to do everything right to keep my body running perfectly, from training to diet, and of course maintaining my Klean Athlete protocol.


Going into nationals I was quietly confident, I knew that I was in really good form, but I had not raced in quite some time. The road race was 167 kilometers and had more than 5,000 feet of climbing, with howling crosswinds. Throw in some scorching heat, and it was an absolute epic. As soon as we sensed that the crosswinds were coming, the whole team made our way near the front of the field. As we made the right-hand turn into the cross-winds, the field split almost immediately.

The front group contained around 30 riders, six from Hagens Berman. We made ourselves present at the front, keeping attacks in control and making sure that the group would be together for the main climb, which was about 10 miles long. Once we reached the climb, my teammate, Diego Binatena, went to the front and set a solid pace. By the end of the climb, Diego had dwindled the group down to fewer than 20 riders, and we still had five guys in the fight.

As we neared the finish, attacks were flying left and right, but not until the final climb did a lead group get away. As soon as we hit the final climb, a group of five attacked and got a gap. Immediately I saw the danger in that move, so with four others, I bridged up right before the final steep pitch to the finish. When we got to the group, the selection was made and the winning attacks started to fly. I pushed myself to the limit making the bridge and had little to respond to the attacks, but I kept pushing on to finish eighth. Achieving this result was such a thrill; it was a testimony to all the hard work I had put in. I would have been satisfied with my nationals with that result, but there was still the criterium to come…

“The team had worked to absolute perfection shutting down any counter moves and making sure any chase would be shutdown for me. There is no way that I would have been able to win a national crit championship without the help from my teammates.”

Part II, including a full recap of the Criterium National Championships, is up next. Stay tuned!

You can follow David on Twitter.


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10/20/2015 Mary and Paolo Mariutto

We have seen David grow up into a terrific young man. We are so proud of you and all you have been determined to accomplish. Best wishes in the next chapter! :
Mary and Paolo Mariutto

10/21/2015 Lydia lombardo

David, what a wonderful achievement. I really loved your blog . You describe your racing experience with passion for the sport but warmly too as you include your Mom
And Dad in your story. You are a good writer and I know about writings. Maybe those are some of my genes floating around. Love, kisses, and many hugs. Grandma