One thinks that Santa Claus would be so used to climate at the North Pole that the last place he would hang out would be in Downtown Lodi on the last day of June.
But Santa was seen on School Street during Sunday’s Lodi Cyclefest. Bob Korock would dress up and play that part, while representing Fields Family Wines in the Cyclefest’s annual Vintner’s Cup race.
But how could one survive a big red suit and fluffy white beard when it’s more than 100 degrees out?
“He had to take one for the team,” Korock’s wife, Lori said. “He could wear a beard, but he couldn’t wear a wig because he could get the (bicycle) helmet on.”
The Vintner’s Cup race, which also included someone dressed as Fred Flintstone and News-Sentinel Publisher Marty Weybret bicycling as a newspaper carrier, was one of many events during Sunday’s scorching heat.
Organizers from Michael David Winery, which sponsored the day-long Cyclefest in Downtown Lodi on Sunday, made sure that riders had plenty of water to cope with the heat, said event announcer Michael Hernandez, a volunteer from Oakland. Riders also put some ice under their shirts, he said.
Hernandez said that that hot weather doesn’t deter bicycle riders because they compete in events up and down the Central Valley all summer.
However, the less-experienced riders competed in the morning, even though it was toasty already, Hernandez said. Riders with greater experience were scheduled in races between 2 and 4 p.m., he added. While Sunday’s Cyclefest featured racers of all different age groups and experience levels, it also included a special handcycle race for riders with disabilities. Most of the riders steer with their arms while lying on their backs.
“It’s actually quite comfortable, a nice, pleasant ride,” said Corey Hartgrave, who came to Lodi from his home in Grants Pass, Ore., for the race. “It keeps me active.”
Hartgrave rides 75 to 100 miles per week and competes in one or two races a month. Triple-digit weather got to him a little, though.
“The heat, I’m not doing well with at all,” Hartgrave said. Meanwhile, Eric Stamfli of Danville didn’t have a problem with the heat, although his face was dripping wet after the race. He was in Lodi for Cyclefest two years ago, but had to skip last year because he had an angioplasty procedure. Sunday was his first race since the surgery.
Stamfli has raced on his bicycle the past seven or eight years. It was an activity he adopted after shattering his spine 37 years ago. Now that he’s back in gear racing, Stamfli plans to participate in a bigger race on July 28 in Reno.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.