David Lombardo in the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships, Junior Men. © Cyclocross Magazine
David Lombardo had the chance most kids only could dream about: to represent the US in the World Championships of Cyclocross, held for the first time in the US. He took home 27th place in the 17-18 race, and here, he tells us all about how the race week played out for him.
by David Lombardo
My dad’s phone starts ringing, on the other line is a friend of ours congratulating me on my selection for the 2013 cyclocross World Championships.
At first the shock sets in, then the denial. Thinking to myself that there is no way, that it must have just been a mix up.
My phone rings the “new email” tone and I go to check who the message is from. This was no ordinary message. It names Jeremy Powers, Ryan Trebon, Jonathan Page … and then I see my name on the “sent to” list and I know that this is no mistake, I am on the World Championship team.
The build up to Worlds went perfect, I was feeling great and all ready to go. The drive there might have only been six hours but it seemed to never end, because of how excited I was to finally be with all of my teammates. The first time I rode the course was on Thursday; I was feeling super good and excited with the course, which on Thursday was nice and muddy: my favorite. I think everything set in that day when we took the team photo, realizing that I was representing my country with all of my role models. The next time pre-riding the course (Friday), it was totally frozen ruts, and I started to get my rhythm down with the ruts but was a little disappointed that my race was not going to be a muddy one. That night we had a nice dinner with the team, and got our numbers so that we could pin up after dinner. After my massage, I was able to fall asleep right away, even with all of my nervousness for the race.
The race day started with waking up nice and early for a walk with Geoff Proctor and the junior team. The purpose of these walks is to be able to clear your head, see what the weather is like, and get ready mentally for your race. After the walk, we had breakfast, kitted up and headed over to the course. On my pre-laps, I was feeling very confident with the course and my legs. After doing my warm up, it was time to head on over to the start, and this was when the nerves started to really pile on and I just wanted the race to begin.
I didn’t have the best starting spot, but with the long start straight it was no problem. After the long wait at the start line the light went green and it was go time. In the start, I didn’t lose any spots but didn’t gain any. Right before the first hump, I saw Logan as he passed me. And I knew: “this is my chance to move up the field.” After the first sandpit, I moved a pretty good way up. After the first couple of laps, I found myself in about 20th place and was feeling great. I started to see a group of about five form in front of me with about a five second gap. I did about three laps with the gap being about the same, and I just wasn’t able to close it all the way. Going into the last lap, I was all alone in about 22nd and told myself, “Just finish the race cleanly.”
Going into the first run-up, I flipped over the handle bars and got up very slowly to be passed by two kids. After pitting, the adrenaline kicked in and most of the pain was gone. I had a British kid locked onto my wheel. On the descent after the final off-camber, I slid out and dropped my chain. I ran up the two uphills, and then tried to shift on the chain. As soon as I did, my rear derailleur shot up into my wheel and I knew it was running time.
I started sprinting for the finish line, trying to hold the best spot I could. I came through the line in 27th place with disappointment, pain, and coldness shivering through my body. At first I was disappointed with how the race ended, but then I thought about what I just did. I just raced for my country at World Championships! How could I ever be disappointed with this? I have an ever-growing sense of gratitude for everyone who helped get to this point in my cycling career, and I couldn’t have done it without any of them.
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