Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Riding the Ridge Route

My "commuter bike" - rather than take my beloved road bike on this journey, I opted for the knobbier tires and the massive saddle bags of my commuter so that I would be able to carry a full fledged picnic along the ridge for us to enjoy. My ipod (which obviously normally resides in the case taped to my bike frame) did not come on this journey!

Due to the locked gate some of you might remember seeing from my previous Ridge Route post, I came up with the concept of biking it. We headed out yesterday and did some 17+ miles on it, way up high in the Transverse Ranges, battling wind the whole time. It amazed me on the Century I rode a few years ago how the wind managed to be a headwind the whole time, even when we switched directions, so I wasn't entirely taken off guard when that happened again yesterday.

Most of the shots I took look the same, so I picked a couple with riders & geology in them. You'll note that these shots tend to be looking up hill. This is largely because it felt like most of the ride was up steep inclines. Of course, every steep incline meant a downhill on the return. The downhills though, on this ancient battered overgrown rubble-filled sand patchy road, were more bone-rattling "try not to die as I veer around yet another steep corner" panic ridden rather than opportunities for my hobby of taking photos while riding a bike.

Here we are at Swede's Cut, which is comparable to Beale's Cut in a sense. This cut, however, was not dug by hand, but rather by steam shovels brought up there by mules. Beale's Cut, which in its glory days reached a staggering 90 feet deep, is out-shone by Swede's Cut, which is to this day, 110 feet deep. Geologically, it's a fabulous example of Plate Tectonics. I mean really. Here we are, up on a high ridge in the Transverse Ranges, ogling some tremendous angled and interbedded sediments: the muddiest of mudstone shale and the biotite-iest of arkose sand. Clearly the edge of a delta? And now here? Brilliant.

For a sense of ridge-ness, this is a view up on the Ridge Route, and waaaaaaaaay down in the distance is the I5, all ugly and trafficy. From up where I took this photo it sounded like bees in the distance.

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