Rapha: Circle of Death Jersey Jun 4, 2012

To celebrate the bird of prey, the bearded vulture, or Lammergeier, that inhabit one of the most dangerous loops in the Pyrenees mountains, Rapha designed the Circle of Death Jersey. Here’s a little background:

“Circle of Death is the infamous loop of Pyrenean mountains that contains the Col d’Aubisque, Col d’Aspin, Col de Peyresourde and the mighty Col du Tourmalet – all of which feature on the route of this year’s Etape Acte II, Pau-Luchon. The first riders to challenge these punishing ascents were understandably apprehensive about what awaited them; not simply the altitude but the creatures that resided there, such as bears and vultures.

While bears are now rarely seen in these parts, birds of prey still patrol the valleys and peaks. And none are more mercurial than the Lammergeier, or bearded vulture. Feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals, the Lammergeier can swallow whole bones up to the size of a lamb’s femur and its powerful digestive system quickly dissolves even large pieces. The Lammergeier has learned to crack bones too large to be swallowed by carrying them up to a height and then dropping them onto rocks below, smashing them into smaller pieces and exposing the nutritious marrow. Its old name of Ossifrage meaning bone breaker relates to this habit. For intrepid Etape riders labouring up these monstrous climbs, the sight of the birds circling overhead is likely to be an ominous one.”

Check out more details at Rapha. I love the eye-colored buttons!

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