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STOCKTON — During his 25-mile ride Thursday morning, Paul Rose made a pit stop at The Fruit Bowl, and he did so for a number of reasons.

First, he loves their cookies, and recommends the chocolate-chip walnut. Second, Rose said he enjoys the experience of the market, which has long been a popular point of interest for cyclists riding down Waterloo Road.

Third, the biggest cycling race in California was making its way through the Central Valley.

Rose was among the sizable crowd camped out in front of the Fruit Bowl, waiting in lawn chairs and picnic tables to see a leg of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California.

Stockton played host to Stage 5 of the tour, with riders trekking 110 miles from downtown Stockton to the day’s finish in Elk Grove. The course took competitors right past the bake shop, offering onlookers a quick glimpse of a flurry of professional riders.

Rose, 62, said he typically isn’t much for spectator sports. In the case of cycling, he’s generally more of a participant. After retiring last year, Rose said he puts in 1,000 miles, on average, monthly.

Rose said a number of his peers in the Stockton Bike Club went higher up into the foothills to watch the riders, but he chose a route closer to home for him and his black Specialized Roubaix.

It’s not hard to see why.

“It’s neat living out here,” Rose said. "On a road bike, I can ride 100 miles and not go through a light.”

Matt Bruni, 61, also rode out to the Fruit Bowl to watch the race, for him a four-mile journey from home. His choice of transportation was a bit different than Rose’s traditional road bike; it was a commuter, one Bruni used to ride to work every day.

It was also a perfect blend of tie-dye colors, from the spokes to the handlebars.

“It’s an idea of not just the spirit on riding, but the spirit of life. Full color is a metaphor for the full spirit of life,” Bruni said. “It was an art project, and I still love to get on that bike today.”

Bruni was among the spectators that lined the street to first watch a train of police cars and motorcycles parade down Waterloo Road, then break out their phones to catch a quick glimpse of the lead group ride past.

Moments later, the much-larger main pack of riders followed, flying by The Fruit Bowl in a swift, but synchronized manner.

It brought back memories of when Bruni used to run marathons, he said, as well as a respect for the dedication the riders showed.

“The idea that they’re living their passion, and people around them are responding to it,” Bruni said, “I love that.”

After the fleeting moments of racing passed by, many stayed for lunch, whether that consisted of hot dogs or paninis, along with fresh pie. It’s fairly normal post-ride tradition for local cyclists according to Ralph Lucchetti, who runs the market with his wife Denene.

“A couple of clubs, when they take their runs in the mornings, we try to have coffee and pastries for them,” Lucchetti said. “It works well for them, and it’s fun for us too. It’s kind of evolved over the years.”

Lucchetti acknowledged that a number of riders headed to higher ground, like Rose said, but was happy with the turnout. Many were there to purely witness the experience, he said, and catch some of the better riders from around the world up close.

“It was pretty impressive,” Lucchetti said. “They were very intense. It was fun. Quick, but fun.”