• While Houston had our cold snap a few weeks ago, 16 year old Jared Clark, a Bellaire High School Junior, was busy enjoying the sunny weather while competing in the XTERRA  Wold Championships in Kapalua, Maui. As the 15-19 year old South Central Men’s Regional Champion, he earned his spot at Worlds against teens from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. He finished the grueling race is just under four hours. 
    The race website describes the course as: 
    "It all starts with a 1.5-kilometer rough water swim at D.T. Fleming Beach fronting the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Once on the bike riders navigate from the Ritz to a ridge line – down to a ravine – and back up again, like a tropical roller-coaster ride through paradise.
    The bike is one big 20-mile loop with 2,800-feet of climbing that goes up-and-down the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains more than a dozen times.  Course designers are striving to find the perfect balance of passing opportunities early with skillful riding opportunities later on.
    The signature spot on the Maui course is at the five-mile mark on the bike as riders pop out on a narrow ridge with hundred foot drop-offs on either side.  From the top you can see all around the vast West Maui Forest Reserve and over the deep blue Pacific Ocean to the neighbor islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i.
    Once on the 6.5 mile run, competitors will be faced with a whole lot of climbing while they weave along dirt trails, through oleander forests, and into 60-foot high ironwood evergreens to an unexpected mountain lake at the 700-foot level."
    According to race director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas, “It descends like a slalom course through high green Bermuda grasses and opens up in spots to expose fantastic views of the Pacific,” said Nicholas. “Obstacles are everywhere, including a technical, steep downhill into a gully where racers will have to jump over and duck under fallen trees, navigate a rocky dry creek, head through thick elephant grass, and along a narrow single track trail with switchbacks that drop all the way down to the beach. The final test of skill and endurance is a calf-busting 250-meter white sand beach run.”
    Since we don’t have hills in Houston, Jared said the climbs on the Mountain Bike were the most difficult part of the course.
    Jared has been racing in triathlons since he was 9 years old and also has a passion for mountain biking. When he was 12 he completed his first 1/2 Ironman and did so in honor of his fraternal twin brother, Justin Clark, who had been recently diagnosed with a rare, fatal genetic disorder called Giant Axonal Neuropathy (GAN). Their younger sister, Lexi, was also later diagnosed with GAN in 2013. 
    Since the diagnosis 4 years ago, the Clark family has raised over a million dollars in grassroots efforts including various triathlons, duathlons and runs, to help fund a clinical trial for a cure for GAN. They operate in conjunction with Reason2Race to find a cure for GAN through their organization Justin’s TRIumph Over GAN  and Hannah’s Hope Fund
    Jared Clark has also qualified for the 2018 ITU World Championship in both the Aquathlon (1000M swim and a 5K run) and Cross Triathlon (Swim: 1500 m. Mountain Bike: 30 km. Trail Run: 10 km.) which will be held in Denmark next July.
    In keeping with his passion for both Mountain Biking and Triathlons, he founded the SW Houston High School Mountain Bike Team (that participates in the Texas High School Mountain Bike League) and the Bellaire HS/SW Houston Triathlon Team.  There is also a middle school division for the mountain bike league and the SW team will be adding middle schoolers to their team this year as well.  If you live in the Southwest part of Houston and your son or daughter is interested in learning more about either the Mountain Bike Team or the Triathlon Team, please contact Jared at Jared.Tri.Clark@gmail.com.  He hopes you will join him in riding for a cure for GAN.