CHINESE KIDS WALK UPHILL TO SCHOOL — BOTH WAYS. No, seriously. Children in the village of Pili in the Pamir Mountains have a 120-mile trek to their school, 50 miles of which are by foot or camel. This has to be the world’s most badass kinder-commute: They have to climb up and over a peak, tiptoe along an inches-wide track cut into a cliff, cross four frigid rivers, and take a 600-foot zipline. “Actually, the parents think it toughens the kids up, and gives them good experience,” said Su Qin, the head teacher at the Taxkorgen school. Can we import some of that to America? Via The Telegraph.
THE U.S. IS GETTING A NEW NATIONAL MTB RACING SERIES. Anyone remember the glory years of American mountain bike racing? Didn’t think so. Well, Dylan Dean of Dean Racing Development has seen the lows and what passes for highs, and he’s launching a new downhill and super D series next year in an attempt to do right by racers. The U.S. Grand Prix of Mountain Biking will focus on the gravity events first, then add XC and gates as momentum builds. 5 to 7 events are slated and locations will be announced next month. Via Cycling News.
AS NEW YORK STATE WEIGHS APPROVING HYDRO-FRACKING AND THE DANGERS OF using treated sewage wastewater in the process — not to mention contaminating wells, releasing radioactive waste, and all sorts of other nasty byproducts of fracking — a less-known method is already in use in Canada that might prove far less dangerous and toxic. Gas fracking uses a propane gel to free trapped natural gas bubbles, but in the process the gel reverts to vapor, then returns to the surface — for collection, reuse, and ultimate resale. It’s more costly than pumping water to drive natural gas to the surface because of the up-front cost of the propane, but it requires no filtering, nor does it have the potential to poison local/downstream water sources. Via Inside Climate News.
IS THE IBERIAN PENINSULA THE NEW NORTH SHORE? Across Portugal and Spain, surfers are discovering big break after big break. First Garrett McNamara sledded a monster in Portugal at Praia do Norte that some called 90 feet (unlikely), and now the Quiksilver La Vaca Gigante has entered its waiting period for swell. This big wave contest — the Big Cow — is being held at Playa de el Bocal in Spain, which was discovered just five years ago. No word on how big El Bocal can hold, but the contest won’t get called unless waves are at least 20 feet. 24 of the world’s top riders have been invited and will have 48 hours warning. Via Quiksilver.