2012 was a breakout year for a couple junior racers from the midwest – Josey Weik of Minnesota and David Lombardo from right here in Chicagoland. We’ve followed their seasons closely, watching them make their way up the ranks – to have their hard work rewarded with the high honor of selection for EuroCrossCamp, earn great results at Cyclocross Nationals, and see David going on to make the team to represent the USA at Cyclocross Worlds in Louisville, Kentucky. Naturally, we wanted to pay proper respect to the dedication of these budding champions so we are doing a two part interview series – first with Josey, then this conclusion with David. Come along as we get inside the minds of the future of cyclocross!

David Lombardo
USA Cyclocross Nationals 2013 in Madison, WI – Junior 17-18 Race / Photo: Liz Farina Markel

David, 2012 was a outstanding year for you. Everyone in the Chicagoland cycling community is so proud of your accomplishments. What were your season highlights and lowlights?

This season is far beyond anything I had expected – and that came along with many highs and lows. Some highs were achieving my first UCI point, placing second in my state championships by a tire length, my selection for EuroCrossCamp, getting on the podium for the first time at a national championship, and being able to represent my country at Worlds. A low that definitely stands out are my rides at the Louisville USGP. This really was a dream season for me; I never thought that any of this was possible at the start of the season and Worlds selections were not even on my mind. I wasn’t even going to petition for Worlds until some friends talked me into it!

The mission of EuroCrossCamp is to “Prepare America’s Best Cyclocross Riders to Face the World’s Toughest Competition”. You spent 2 weeks living in Belgium and racing in the heart of cyclocross in the dead of winter. Surely it was a highlight of your 2012 season – what did it feel like to get chosen, did you think you would, standouts of the experience, what was it like to work with Director Geoff Proctor, and your biggest takeaway and/or lesson learned?

The feeling of being chosen for my first cross camp was a feeling as if a life goal of mine was complete. After the Cincy3 races I felt as if I had a reasonable chance of being selected but I still wasn’t sure if I was going. Then after Louisville USGP I really didn’t know what was going to happen with the selections. For that whole week after Louisville I was checking my emails every five minutes. That had to be one of the longest weeks of my life!

The Belgian racing scene was absolutely amazing but something that stood out for me was being able to race at a classic course then go back to the (cross camp) house and watch the pros on TV. Working with Mr. Proctor was amazing; the knowledge he has for the sport is tremendous. He is always so positive and helps everyone stay calm even though all of the high pressures of racing in Europe. My biggest takeaway from cross camp has to be learning how to truly compete in a cross race by putting everything you have into the course no matter how much it hurts – and the courses there require this due to their intensity.

You had an incredible result in your Junior 17-18 race at Nats, finishing on the podium in fourth place. Congrats! Any takeaways from that race?

My Nationals ride was far more than I was expecting. Being on the podium was hardly in the back of my mind which I think helped calm my nerves for the race. After about two laps into the race I was in fourth with a pretty good size gap back to fifth – but I still couldn’t believe that I was riding to a spot on the podium. I think EuroCrossCamp was the true reason for my podium finish. After camp I’ve felt so confident in the mud and I was super stoked about the Nationals course being a real slop fest.

David Lombardo
David executes a tough pass at 2013 CX Worlds in Louisville, KY / Photo: Luke Seemann

Although you were on the bubble for making the cut, you were chosen to represent Team USA for Cyclocross Worlds. How did you celebrate when learning you had made the team?

I celebrated my Worlds selection with a nice hard set of intervals! There wasn’t any real time to celebrate because I had to get more focused than ever for this chance in a life time experience. My Dad had a real solid plan for my training up to Worlds and I think we nailed it perfectly as I was in the best shape of my life.

What was it like to race at Worlds and the overall experience?

Being able to race at Worlds (especially with it being held in the US) was a experience that I can’t explain with words. How loud the fans were was so motivating! The best part of Worlds were the fans by far. I would have thought that not as many people would be at my race since they had to move it to early Saturday morning, but I was way wrong on that one! Also just being on Team USA was a thrill in itself. Some of the memories I have with my teammates will last a lifetime.

There’s been talk that the United States may get a race in the CX World Cup. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this and why it’s essential for the sport to continue growing in the US.

I think it would be a really great opportunity for the US, although the logistics to put on a race like a World Cup have to be unreal. But if it were to happen I think that it would grow the sport (in the US) tremendously.

David Lombardo & Niels Albert
David with Niels Albert at the Loenhout Bpost Bank Trophee in Belgium

You’ve had the opportunity to meet several pros over the last year. Do any meetups stand out for you?

Not any particular meetup stands out to me, but what does stand out is how dedicated they are to the sport. If I had to pick one it would have to be meeting Niels Albert (two-time Cyclocross World Champion) at Loenhout; I’m kind of mad that he didn’t smile in my picture with him!

Is there anyone you want to call out for making your 2012 season the success that it was?

There are many people I would have to thank for helping me achieve everything I have this past season. First and foremost my Mom and Dad for letting me do all this crazy stuff, Tim Boundy of Verdigris Custom Homes, Rob Curtis of Psimet Wheels, Vince Boyer of Village Cycle Sport, the whole ChiCrossCup community, Bob Olson of Wheel Werks, Clement Tires, Michael Zellmann, and everyone that contributed to my EuroCrossCamp fund.

Due to the nature of your cyclocross training, it has provided you with a special relationship with your dad. Can you tell us about that?

Racing has given me a real special relationship with my Dad. Just about every weekend from August to Feburary we were traveling all over the country. And not only do we travel together but almost every training ride we ride together, and he also coaches me. All of these things together have helped strengthen our relationship.

How has your Christian faith influenced your cycling career?

My Catholic faith has effected my cycling career in a huge way. Without having God in my life I’m not sure where I would be with my cycling. God is everything to me and he is what motivates me to want to achieve more in cycling.

Both weekends and on Christmas when I was at EuroCrossCamp a group of us went to mass and it was really nice.

Any hobbies outside of cycling or interesting facts about yourself that people might not know?

With cycling taking up so much time it’s hard to take in other hobbies, but the past two years I did track for my school team during the spring. But now I’m going to only focus on cycling and get ready for the road season instead of running track.

Doping has been all over the news in the last couple months. It would seem there’s a huge temptation and incentive for cyclists to gain whatever edge they can for the best results. What are your thoughts on the situation?

I think it’s all really stupid and anyone that has doped sucks and deserves none of their so called “achievements”. It’s up to my generation to truly clean up the sport and make all of this nonsense stop. Any of you who have read Ned Overend’s view on all the doping scandals and how they should be treated as criminals – I absolutely 100% agree with him and his view is my favorite.

Do you have any favorite training habits and/or nutrition that you believe gives you a (clean) competitive edge?

A training nutrition habit I have is eating lots of beets and Nutella. On my rides I love all of the Paceline Products bars.

Illinois State CX Champs 2012 Mens 1/2/3 at the line! Chicago, IL / Photo: Amy Dykema

Any big news you want to share with us? For whom will you be riding in 2013?

There is some exciting news! For the upcoming road season I will be racing for ISCorp. They are one of the best midwest junior road teams and the team suits me really well; I’m super excited for the new opportunity. I will still be racing for Verdigris-Village CX team for the cross season.

I hear that ISCorp is stepping it up a notch in 2013. Anything you can tell us about that yet?

Yes they are! They have been super terrific with helping me get all set up with the new team. In a couple of weeks I’ll be doing a camp with most of my teammates and I’m super excited to meet everyone on the team. This will be my first road season so I’m a litle nervous for it but mainly excited to be with my new team.

What are you planning to do differently in 2013?

This upcoming year will be my first year working with power (managing my power data from the bike and basing my training off it), which I am super excited about! I haven’t been working with power until now because it’s best for you to truly understand your body before you start working with power. I will also be doing a full season in the summer for the first time. I hope that I can have a successful road campaign but I also think its going to help my cyclocross out.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years – both personally and professionally?

In five years I hope to be a senior in college and hopefully doing something big in cycling! I have no clue what I want to major in college yet but I still have one more year to think about it. With cycling I have no clue what is going to happen but if I’m lucky I will be looking to find a profession in the sport.

Thanks David – we can’t wait to see how your cycling career progresses. We’ll be following your 2013 season and look forward to seeing you at Cyclocross Worlds 2014!

David and Josey were featured in the intro of Behind the Barriers Season 3 Episode 10 as Jeremy Powers runs into them at the Brussels airport while on their way to EuroCrossCamp!

  1. Lydia Lombardo on Thursday 21, 2013

    I am David’s paternal grandmother. To say I am proud of him would be an understatement. I cried reading this interview, especially when David talked about his family and his faith. This is a young man who is talented and ambitious but who also is modest and very compassionate. He is an authentic human being and represents the best there is among our young people.