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Lake1LRLast Saturday, Paul L, Ryan M, Danny D, along with Susan and I, spent the morning at Lake Los Angeles.

Our purpose in visiting was wrapped up in the fact that Lake Los Angeles is the current site of the Southern California/Nevada USAC State Time Trial Championships. We all wanted to give the race course a look.

The 23.5 mile time trial course is composed of four roads which form an 18.5 mile rectangle, with riders also doing the first 6 mile leg a second time.

Imagine the great time we all had riding around a picturesque place like Lake Los Angeles. Doesn't that just sound great? Riding around a lake in LA LA land?

Well, unfortunately, Lake Los Angeles is like Grape-Nuts, it is neither.

Actually Lake Los Angeles is a sparsely populated rural community in the High Desert, located mid-way between Palmdale and Victorville where the wind seems to blow constantly.

Lake2LRThere is a long since dry-lake in the area that was filled to about 5 feet deep during the 1960s by land developers who bought 4,000 acres, sub-divided it into 4,465 lots, and artificially refilled the natural lake and named it "Lake Los Angeles" as an enticement to landbuyers.

We are told that advertisements from that time period showed a water skier on the lake and a showcase home on the top of the nearby hill, giving the impression that this was a resort. There were streets named "Biglake Ave", "Lakespring Ave" and "Longmeadow Ave" to draw attention away from the fact that the town was in fact a barren desert with a shallow lake only 5 feet deep. The lake was allowed to evaporate after the initial developers sold their interests, mostly to distant buyers who never visited the area.

Lake Los Angeles does have somewhat of a nice film history, dating back to 1938. We are told that numerous films, commercials, and television series have been filmed in Lake Los Angeles, including several "Bonanza" episodes in the 1960s.

Lake Los Angeles is actually a great place for a bike race. There are miles of empty roads with very few cars. The only problem is the constant wind and the occasional pack of wild dogs which can cause some concern as you ride by at 30 MPH.

No kidding. We actually came across a small pack of wild dogs on our warm up. They seemed to take an interest in Paul, but left the rest of us alone.

Lake3LRThe drive up to LLA was uneventful, with a stop at the "last chance" McDonald's at the junction of the I15 and Highway 138 to address any "porcelain" issues, as Carl would put it, since there is a dearth of such facilities available at LLA.

Once we got to LLA, we parked in front of the Vista San Gabriel Elementary School (at the traditional start house) to set up the bikes.

Paul and Ryan came out with their TT bikes, Danny brought his road machine, and Susan and I brought the tandem.

The course starts in front of the elementary school and heads East, away from Lake Los Angeles for 6 miles, then it turns right and heads South for 2.75 miles before taking another right to head West 6 miles back toward LLA. The rectangle is completed by making a right for 2.75 miles prior to making a final right turn at the start line for a repeat of the first 6 miles to the finish line.

The first 6 miles were great as always, with a decent road surface, and a slight uphill grade which we hardly noticed because there was a strong tailwind.

Once we turned the corner at the end of the first leg, we hit a very strong cross/head wind for 2.75 miles, which turned into a block headwind for the 6 mile leg West. That meant that there was 8.75 miles of suffering into a very tough wind. We felt it most particularly on the tandem. I mean, it hurt.

Lake4LRThe 2.75 mile section across the bottom of the rectangle back to the start line featured a strong cross/tail wind, which helped push the bikes, but also made bike handling difficult, and the last leg, was a repeat of the first.

We all did two "laps" of the rectangle.

The guys on the singles simulated race conditions with a warm up and then a timed event. Susan and I just rode it, with periods of intensity strategically placed along the way.

Paul rode a great ride, laying down a time in the 52 minute range on the TT course, which was a personal best for him. Ryan and Danny put in solid efforts to check out the course in preparation for future events.

Lake5LRAll in all, it was an important training day. Paul worked on pushing a big gear the entire time. Ryan and Danny were testing themselves, and I wanted to check out the course with Susan so we would know what we had in store in the event that we decide to give the State Championships a go on the tandem.

Back at the cars, we all agreed that it was a good day. Even though there was no lake, we found that the desert truly has a beauty all its own.

 

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