The 9th annual hilltop grasshopper, actually a do over, was a fun day of real mountain bike racing for kids from pre K thru grade 8 on real course complete with muddy spots, roots, bumps and all on a winding narrow trail through the cool shaded woods along the West Essex Rail Trail in Cedar Grove.
Enjoy pictures here
Enjoy more pictures here
This year the event went off without a weather related issue (just like previous 8 events) and we’re hoping for many more sunny races. In fact we’re announcing right now that next year’s Grasshopper will be on Saturday, August 8, the flyer is below and we’ll have more details posted here as they develop.
For many riders, this was their first-ever kid’s bike race, for others, this was their 3rd or 4th time racing in the Grasshopper.
A total of 80 riders competed in one of 4 different classes based on grade level in the fall, 2019. The youngest riders were the first racers, starting early at 0900 and racing two laps or 0.6miles. Older grade groups followed later in the morning, each group racing an increasing number of laps, with the oldest group, grade 6-8 completing 6 laps or 1.8 miles. Students represented towns from all over northern NJ.
The largest girls group was the grade 4-5 group with 7 racers including a few who have raced here and elsewhere many times. We were super enthused to see that many girls lining up and hope that it indicates cycling is a growth sport for girls.
We were fortunate to have the help of Maile O. as a lead out rider for many of the girls races, she’s a NJ mountain bike champion in her age group, riding with NICA team Essex Offroad and she has become a role model for girls interested in riding and racing.
Two of the boys races had really big starting line ups with 16 racers in both the grade 4-5 and grade 6-8 groups. Both were very competitive classes throughout the many laps that were completed.
Not surprisingly, local racers from Verona and Montclair were high up in the standings, mostly because those racers are out riding and enjoying the large variety of local trails. Some are members of the local team, Essex Offroad or have older siblings who ride with that team. If you are interested in more information about this local student mountain bike team for students in grades 6-12, check out their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/EssexMTB/, for racers in other parts of NJ, check out the NICA home page to find out more about a team near you
Shout out thanks to all the volunteers who make this event happen and run safely and smoothly, Brendan at CycleCraft in Parsippany who has supported the Grasshopper every year with bike safety checks for every rider, JORBA (Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association) with website support and ongoing advocating and trail development and event hosting for the cycling community, Essex Parks for all the onsite equipment to host the event and the Hilltop Conservancy that guides maintenance and sustainability in the Hilltop Reservation, and NICA (National Interschlastic Cyling Association) and the New Jersey chapter of NICA for all they do to help get kids on bikes across the country
Girls results, top 3 in order
K-1 Gabriella Z, Brynna M, Annabelle B
2-3 Makayla F
4-5 Zoe M, Theodora M, Adriana V
6-8 Mae W, Audrey M
Boys results, top 3 in order
K-1 Nicolas S, Tyler S, Gunnar V
2-3 Noah G, Kenneth S, Cole O
4-5 Jonah B, James C, Jean T
6-8 Lukas D, Thomas B, Luke S