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Biking in wine country

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Posted: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 11:30 am, Sun Jul 4, 2010.

On any given day in Lodi, cyclists will pedal in uniform down the wide expanse of country roads in the outskirts of the city. When the heat of the sun starts to bake the Central Valley, kayakers glide through the tranquil waters of the Mokelumne River. Runners and walkers come out in droves at Lodi Lake to find escape in the evening's cool relief.

Lodians have a living, breathing lust for the outdoors.

The Mokelumne River is a roughly 160-mile river that flows from the Sierra Nevada to the San Joaquin Delta. The river's course passes directly through Lodi.

"It's our jewel," said Alan MacIsaac, a strong proponent of the river.

MacIsaac, who runs the river awareness site www.mokelumneriver.com, said people need to look at the river as a beautiful opportunity.

The Mokelumne River Adventure Challenge is a .6-mile swim, three-mile run and a seven-mile paddle up the Mokelumne that constitutes MacIsaac's vision. This year's event will be held on June 12 at 8 a.m. in Lodi Lake Park and will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

"This is Lodi's great race," MacIsaac said. "It's our river, our challenge and hopefully it will bring more tourism."

For more information, visit www.mokelumneriver.com and click on the "Adventure Challenge" tab.

Another great race is the Lodi Cyclefest.

The style of bicycle race is called a "criterium," a closed figure-8 course less than a mile long.

According to race organizer, Damian Gonzalez, Lodi has a great back drop for races like the Cyclefest which debuted during the summer of 2009.

This year the event will be held on July 11.

The racers navigating the downtown course at 30 miles per hour with sprints reaching 40 miles per hour.

For more information or to register, go online at www.deltavelo.com or contact Gonzalez at (209) 810-6644 or e-mail him at damian@deltavelo.com..

Other cycling events

The Giro de Vino — Hosted by the Delta Velo Racing Team and the Stockton Bike Club, this annual November ride is recognized as one of the best in the country according to "Bicycle Magazine.' There are 100K and 60K rides, with both beginning and ending at Woodbridge Winery in Acampo.

This year's event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 7. For more information, go online at www.deltavelo.com.

Lodi Sunrise Century — The 50K, 100K and 100-mile rides start and end in Lodi, taking cyclists through the pastures, vineyards and farmlands surrounding Lodi. The 15th Annual Lodi Century Sunrise will be held in May of 2011.

For more information or to register, go online at www.lodisunrisecentury or call Rodger Robinson at (209) 365-0988 or e-mail Info2010@LodiSunriseCentury.com.

Delta Century — The oldest annual ride in the area is held on the first Sunday each May. Hosted by the Stockton Bicycle Club, the event features 50K, 100K and 100-mile rides. The race has started at Jessie's Grove Winery in recent years and takes riders to the Delta, Thornton, Walnut Grove, Ryder Island and the Courtland before returning to Lodi.

Next year's ride will be held in May of 2011. Jessie's Grove will once again serve as the host venue. For more information or to register, go online at www.stocktonbikeclub.org, www.bikereg.com or e-mail DeltaCentury@comcast.net.

The Zin Spin — Founded by Lodi's Rocket Sports Foundation a few years ago, this April ride begins at Michael David Winery's Bare Ranch on Woodbridge Road and covers 62 miles before cruising back into Lodi.

Next year's event will be held in April of 2011. For more information or to register, call (209) 759-9911 or e-mail zinspin@gmail.com.

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