Written by Teresa Akersten.
A total of 82 kids raced for medals and swag — and of course bragging rights — in the fourth annual Hilltop Grasshopper Kids' Bike Race held on August 17 in North Caldwell.
"There were so many fast kids that will hopefully be back next year for more fun in the woods," said Geordie Smith, vice president of the Hilltop Conservancy, which co-organizes the race along with JORBA. "It was truly inspirational to see that many kids on bikes in one place, all trying their best to earn a top three medal."
The largest class of racers this year was the grade 2 – 3 boys with 27 racers tearing it up for two laps. Garret G. stayed strong to finish first. Grade 2 – 3 girls were super competitive and a few top girls finishers even caught up to the boys pack that started about two minutes before them with Katie D. winning convincingly.
The k – 1 class was the second largest class. These kids had to complete one lap of the same course that the bigger kids rode. There were some spills and tough rocky spots to navigate, but everyone pushed through and came across the finish line safely with Luke S. winning the boys group and Kiss T. earning gold in the girls group.
Grade 4 – 5 riders had to complete three laps and this race reveals endurance and determination. It also reveals base level training. At this age group, the kids who ride a lot really do have a big advantage. The boys' winner was Jessie L., a regular in the New Jersey bike racing scene. Watch for this name in the future. The girls gold medalist was Hollie N.
Grade 6 – 8 boys and girls raced together owing to the smaller total number of racers in this category. Nina M. ended the race as the gold medal girl and would have been the third place finisher if racing against the boys. The top boys racer was Julian L., another racer who makes it look so easy to go fast. He's been riding a lot and it shows.
"As each of these kids moves up to higher grade classes, some incredibly fast racers will be developing in New Jersey," Smith said.
Mark your calendars. The fifth annual Hilltop Grasshopper race has been scheduled for August 16, 2014.
The 0.6-mile Kid's Korse at the Hilltop is always open for riding or explore the trails in your area.
Hilltop Grasshopper Kids' Race August 2013
Top 3 Finishers
Boys K - 1
Girls K - 1
Boys 2 - 3
J Bucher & J Granese
Girls 2 - 3
Boys 4 - 5
Girls 4 - 5
Boys 6 - 8
Girls 6 – 8