From beginners to professionals, from kids to adults on beach cruisers, cyclists will take over Downtown Lodi on Sunday for the first annual Lodi Cycle Fest.
Eight criterium races - which are multi-lap contests set up on a 0.8-mile, figure 8 course - highlight the inaugural event. The races will start and finish near the Pine and School streets intersection. They will range from 25 to 60 miles long and last from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Six of the rides are for amateur racers, while two are for pros. The professional races are expected to draw cyclists and spectators from all over California. There will also be a children's race (4-14) and an adult beach cruiser race. Both are free and open to the public.
More than $6,000 in cash as well as prizes will be awarded to the top riders. Two beach cruisers will also be raffled off to the public at 12:30 p.m. Race-day registration is accepted for all races.
"I think it is going to be good because the prize money is pretty good so local riders and some pro riders from some big teams in the U.S. are going to be showing up," said Andres Gil, a Stockton rider who is one of the favorites to win the men's professional race.
Former and current USA Cycling national champions Rahsaan Bahati, Ken Hanson and Daniel Holloway will also be in action in the men's pro race.
Race organizers are hoping 500 cyclists peddle in the event and 2,000 spectators roll Downtown to watch it. Admission is free and there will be vendors selling cycling gear and other products, as well as a DJ playing music and an announcer calling the races.
Gil, a Spanish teacher at Bear Creek High School, and his cycling squad Delta Velo Racing Team are putting on the race. They used to hold it in Stockton, but after a one-year absence last year, decided to relocate to Lodi.
Michael David Winery, the event's title sponsor, will host a VIP tent during the race and will provide food and wine for the riders. The winery will also be awarding prizes to the "7 Deadliest Riders," a tribute to the winery's wine, 7 Deadly Zins.
"We're excited to be a part of this cycling event in Lodi," said Mike Phillips, winery co-owner.