After the Fire

07.12.2012 | 11:13 am

bibs.jpgA “The FatCyclist Gear Pre-Order Is Ending Soon” Note From Fatty: I really can’t overemphasize how important a good pair of bibshorts is to making your ride more comfortable.

OK, that’s not strictly true. I could overemphasize it pretty easily, to be honest. I could say something like, “The only way you will ever have fun riding a bike is if you wear a good pair of bibshorts! If you don’t wear bibshorts, you are bound to suffer horribly, even during the shortest rides! And people will make fun of you and your friends will never call you again!”

And I could go on.

But my point is, a good pair of bib shorts — whether you’re a man or woman — does some really good things for your riding experience:

  • They don’t have anything cinching around your waist, which is really nice
  • They keep the chamois snug against your butt
  • They de-muffintop you, which is really really nice for some of us
  • They make it so that you never have a gap between your shorts and jersey, showing off your no-doubt beautifully pale midsection.

Every pair of bibshorts I own are bibs. And they’re all fantastic. The ones I have that are four years old are still going strong. They’re comfortable and they’re long-lasting. I’ve been out on many all-day rides with these, and have never had a problem.

Seriously, these are good bibs. And they’re a good price, too. Men, order your bibs here. Women, order your bibs here.  

And while you’re at it, be sure to check out the other 2013 FatCyclist gear available for pre-order now.

After the Fire

Lambert Park isn’t all that big, as far as mountain bike parks go. But it’s close to home, it’s rideable about ten months out of the year, and it has an amazing amount of fantastic trail packed into the space available.

It’s where I filmed one of my favorite videos of all time:

It’s a great place to head out on a family hike:


And it’s also where the fire that scorched the mountain close to my house started. Here are a few pictures, taken from my back porch over the course of just a couple hours, as the fire worked its way across the side of the mountain:




The fire looks especially freaky as night comes on:



We were lucky, though. After just two days of the fire we got a good rainstorm, which — along with the amazing efforts of the firefighters — pretty much stopped the fire in its tracks. No (human) homes lost.

Of course, now the mountain looks like the Crack of Doom:


But that’ll all — eventually — grow back. And the smoke smell that dominated the area has faded nicely into the background. Or maybe we’ve just gotten used to it.

Anyway, with the fire mostly out (on a windy night earlier this week, we could see a couple of flare-ups), we wanted to see:

What’s Lambert Park like now?

Well, it’s pretty weird. And instructive and interesting, in its own way.

It’s So . . . Small

Until now, Lambert Park was always really thick with scrub oak, so you could never see more than a few yards ahead of you. Strangely, having those bushes and trees all around you made you feel like you were in a really big place. Because you couldn’t see very far — but everywhere you looked there was trees and trail — your mind tricked you into the feeling that they went on forever, in every direction.

Now, however, big chunks of the mountain and the trail are laid bare:


You can see the trail and the direction it goes all the way up — or down — the slope. Suddenly, instead of the sense of riding in a big forested area, you see how close the switchbacks are to each other, and what a short distance it is from where you are to where you’re riding to.

The illusion of “bigness” is gone.


I don’t normally spend a lot of time thinking about plants as living things. I just think about them as plants.

That changes, though, when you see a bunch of them together, burned and black:


It’s spooky. And sad.


Thanks to dividing trails and roads and — as far as I know — efforts of firefighters, there are big chunks of Lambert Park that haven’t been burned at all. Including my favorite parts: Rodeo and Spring. This is from yesterday:


When you’re in this part of the park, it’s like nothing ever happened.


One of the very oddest things about riding through Lambert Park after the fire, though, was seeing what the fire took, and what it left behind.

Something as narrow as a dirt road or a trail seems to have been enough, sometimes, to stop the fire, so one side of the trail would be completely burned away, while the other side would still be green:


The sudden changes, as we’d cross over these barriers between green and burnt mountain, was really startling, every time. Like when you jump into a pool.

But in reverse.

You’re in one world, and then you’re in another.



  1. Comment by Jeff | 07.12.2012 | 11:31 am

    It’d be interesting, at least for me, to see how those areas come back. If you have occasion to post a photo or two in several weeks and then again a year from now showing side by side comparisons of Ma’Nature doing her thing it’d be interesting… at least to me.

  2. Comment by 7d brian | 07.12.2012 | 11:47 am

    One of the most interesting things about Lambert park to me is the incredible variety in the landscape between trails in such an incredibly small area.

    Rodeo has one feel, upper rodeo another, high bench another, poppy another, zig/zaggy another and so forth.

    I’d image that the fire damage will contribute to this diversity in some ways and reduce it in other ways.

    When I heard last week that rodeo was still in tact I was very happy – that would have been my first choice by far if I could have picked something to be left untouched.

  3. Comment by 7d brian | 07.12.2012 | 11:57 am

    Er ziggy/zag

  4. Comment by MellowJonny | 07.12.2012 | 12:04 pm

    Wonderful entry as always, Fatty.

    Isn’t that crazy how much Lambert Park changed?

  5. Comment by Ginger-Schminger | 07.12.2012 | 12:06 pm

    We had the exact same reaction last year when a good portion of our ranch in Texas burned. Unfortunately the area that we WANTED to burn did not. It was very surreal to wander over the place that I’ve known like the back of my hand for my whole life and to feel so out of sorts.

  6. Comment by Kent Peterson | 07.12.2012 | 12:16 pm

    When I rode the GDR in 2005 in New Mexico the gravel road I was on had literally been a fire line a few days before. Scorched on one side, untouched by fire on the other. Very memorable experience.

  7. Comment by kellene | 07.12.2012 | 1:24 pm

    Wonderful video of Katie! So much joy on the down hill! Glad you are all safe and sound.

  8. Comment by chtrich | 07.12.2012 | 1:26 pm

    I’d been meaning to see what happened. Thanks for the photos and update. I’m glad it’s not a complete loss.

  9. Comment by Napleszen | 07.12.2012 | 1:59 pm

    Living in SW Florida, these fires are an annual event. It is truly amazing to see the destruction, but equally amazing to see how fast effected areas bounce back.

  10. Comment by rich | 07.12.2012 | 2:34 pm

    Hey Fatty,
    That’s an awesome video of your daughter….how old is she in that video? I’m thinking of getting my grandson out on the trail with me and although he’s off the training wheels, I don’t think he’s ready for the trail. I was looking at the trail-a-bikes as an in between phase…

    My twins loved riding the trail-a-bike. In this video, she’s 7. They were good for riding on easy MTB trails this way pretty much ages 5 – 8 (too old / big by 9). You should definitely take your grandson out on a setup like this. He’ll have a ball and so will you. – FC

  11. Comment by ecology nerd | 07.12.2012 | 2:48 pm

    Fire ecology is really neat… lots of plant and animal species need periodic fires to maintain healthy populations (and biodiversity). Plants have evolved some sweet fire adaptations too like hiding most of their biomass underground so they’re actually not dead. It’s an arms race for space after a fire. Should be really cool watching the plant succession + recovery from the fire…. /geeking out

  12. Comment by lynn e | 07.12.2012 | 3:38 pm

    Love the post! That video (your daughter) made me smile the first time you posted it and often since. I hope your children still enjoy riding.

    thank you eco nerd for offering some solace to the situation.

  13. Comment by pedalpink | 07.12.2012 | 4:07 pm

    It’s been 25 months since the tornado ripped a 7 mile long, 1/4 mile trail of destruction thru my property and the adjoining 4,000 nature trail. Later the state forest hired loggers to down what was still standing. I still sometimes have to pull off the road and pause to re-orient myself to the new and foreign scenery.

  14. Comment by Cookster | 07.12.2012 | 5:02 pm

    Awesome as usual. I have also just checked my iPod and cannot believe that “Funky Town” isn’t on it, but that is now fixed.

    Btw Leverage is back this week I think, so look out for Fatty guys and gals.

  15. Comment by Carl | 07.12.2012 | 9:42 pm

    Very sad.

  16. Comment by Skippy | 07.12.2012 | 11:05 pm

    Lets hear it for the firefighters , folks ! Many of these people are Joe Public , that hear the siren go , stop their day job and headout into Harm’s Way so that we the uncaring public can get on with our lives !
    Too often the cause is the lazy B. tossing the butt so as to avoid soiling their car ashtray , a few months behind bars should be replaced with a period in a burns unit ! Wonder if that would change attitudes ?

    Too many firefighters find themselves the victims of misfortune as the link here explains :

    Do you know how you can help them other than attending their FUN Fundraisers ? What preparations can you make ?

    Those in Oz are preparing for next season right now , and as Fatty says ” thanks to the efforts of the firefighters etc” and ” along with the amazing efforts of the firefighters — pretty much stopped the fire in its tracks “!

  17. Comment by Jenni | 07.13.2012 | 6:27 am

    Skippy quit promoting yourself on this site. It’s incredibly irritating.

  18. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 07.13.2012 | 9:12 am

    Glad the smell is getting under control (as smells should be!)

  19. Comment by Tim Lane | 07.13.2012 | 10:58 am

    Fatty, if in about a year tall, pretty pink flowers grow be vary careful. It could be Poison Dogwood, I recently rode through a bunch of it in an area that had been cleared by fire, it’s many times worse than Poison Oak, everyone I was with ended up going to the ER for steroid shots and we were horribly itchy for weeks.

  20. Comment by Sunny | 07.16.2012 | 3:18 pm

    Loved the video of Katie…she looked like she was riding and singing to Funky Town. My son worked the fire there. I’m glad things went as well as they did. Lambert Park will be easier for me to ride now…I can see where I’m going and what I’m in store for. lol

  21. Comment by Dhruv Bhagat | 07.18.2012 | 12:14 pm

    Really amazing experience !!! Just love the video too.. :)


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