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Shorts: Blue Ridge Briefs

Jimmie Johnson Rides Mt. Mitchell

Back in mid-May, tough regional cycling challenge, the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, had a rider in the field better known for his performance on four wheels than two. NASCAR hero Jimmie Johnson, a six-time Sprint Cup Series winner, pedaled the quad-crushing course that rolls from downtown Spartanburg, S.C., along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the summit of the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Johnson, a fitness buff and accomplished triathlete, finished the 102.7-mile course, which climbs more than 10,000 feet, in 6:11:24.

The famous driver did have some help on his way up the mountain. He was paced by his friend, former pro cyclist and 17-time Tour de France rider George Hincapie. After the ride, Johnson posted a message on Twitter: “Such a tough day but so worth it.”

West Virginia Snowboarder Heads to Nation’s Top Riding School

It’s not often that kids from Appalachia become top prospects in the snowsports world, so give it up for Sterling Beane, a snowboarding phenom and recent high school graduate from Gassaway, W.Va. In the spring, Beane committed to ride for Sierra Nevada College, a small school in Incline Village, Nevada, that won the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championship earlier this year. According to a story in the Charleston Gazette-Mail Beane, who’s been a nationally ranked boardercross rider in his age group, is the first athlete from West Virginia to sign a letter of intent to compete on a college snowboarding team. Beane learned to ride and honed his skills at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, and he’s been dominant at regional comps, including the infamous Cupp Run Challenge.

D.C. Area Teen Sets Record with Over 7,000 Pull-Ups

Speaking of accomplished high schoolers, meet Andrew Shapiro, a junior at Langley High School in McLean, Va., who back in May set a world record by doing 7,306 pull-ups in 24 hours. Shapiro, 17, accomplished the feat at a Relay for Life event near his home in Fairfax County, inspired by his father’s successful battle with colon cancer. The teen beat a 2015 record of 6,800 pull-ups set by Jan Kares of the Czech Republic.

According to a story in the Washington Post, Shapiro actually broke two other records during the event, along the way to his 24-hour record, by doing 3,515 pull-ups in six hours and 5,742 pull-ups in 12 hours. He told the paper he’s had the record in his sights for a while, and his training included incessant pull-up workouts while watching the reality TV show American Ninja Warrior and the Star Wars movies as distractions.

Small Pennsylvania Community Legalizes Civil Disobedience to Protest Fracking

The people of Grant Township—a small community in western Pennsylvania—don’t want the toxic wastewater that comes from fracking deposited under their homes. In fact, residents are so against Pennsylvania General Energy Company’s plan to create an injection well in the municipality that they recently legalized the right to protest it. “We’re doing it to safeguard the residents and protect as many people as possible,” Township Supervisor Stacy Long told Yes! Magazine of what is believed to be the country’s first law legalizing nonviolent civil disobedience against toxic wastewater injection wells.

This is quite a David and Goliath situation with a community of just 700 people taking on a large energy company that already has an EPA permit to create the disposal well, which would be used to house the byproduct of oil and gas drilling that’s been proven to contain a range of toxic chemicals. But the residents of Grant have proven to be persistent in their fight against fracking. Back in 2014 the community passed its own bill of rights that includes a ban on injection wells. The ban was eventually overturned in court.

Beer Two-Mile Record Set in Canada

Runners around the world have been attempting to best each other at the Beer Mile, a popular trend that includes chugging four cans of beer and running four 400-meter laps on a track. The record—currently held by Canadian runner Lewis Kent with a time of 4:47:17—and accompanying stats are housed at Back in May another Canadian runner upped the ante by setting a record for a beer two-mile. Doubling down on the initial challenge, Jim Finlayson drank eight beers and ran two miles in an impressive time of 11:39. Finlayson, a former Canadian marathon champion who lives in Victoria, British Columbia, warned spectators that most people who attempt a beer two-mile vomit in the process. Finlayson, though, was able to go the distance before puking by a tree after he finished. While officially tracks the standard one-mile version of the challenge, the site did recognize Finlayson’s accomplishment in its “Rule Variations” section.

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