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This T-shirt was inspired by Padraig's feature for peloton magazine on Eddy Merckx' '72 racing season. Padraig made the case that it was the finest season any cyclist has ever or will ever have.
In a single year of racing Merckx won Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Giro d'Italia (along with four stages), the Tour de France (seven stages and the points jersey), the Tour of Lombardy and capped it by setting a new hour record. His myriad other wins at small races were less icing on the cake than the whole can of icing on a cupcake.
Take that, hubris.
The illustration comes courtesy Bill Cass. For Bicycle Guide readers, his name should be familiar. BG used his work frequently; it also appeared in the pages of Padraig's Asphalt Magazine. Bill spent his time racing as a Cat. 2 in New England and bumped elbows with the best of them. He's less known for his work as a shoe designer for Nike, where he spent much of his career. If you've worn a pair of Nike cycling shoes, chances are he designed them. These days he has a studio in the Pacific Northwest on Whidby Island near Seattle, where he's doing very cool work, as evidenced by this design.
Bill's illo takes the rainbow jersey Merckx won in late '71 as its starting point and conjures the head-down late-race moment from which Red Kite Prayer draws it's name. Surely there can't be another cyclist whose racing better personifies this effort. It's authentic from the kit to the bike and even the little chain slap in the wake of a sudden acceleration.
Naturally, we thought should do at least a bit of branding, so you'll find a small RKP logo high between the shoulders in back. Volcom we're not.
We are hoping you'll take the opportunity do as our man Robot plans. After showing the design to him he responded: "I look forward to wearing it until it is threadbare and embarrassing to my children."
Here's to celebrating the greatest season by the greatest cyclist ... ever.