TeaRoom Challenge 2007 - What a Success!

The TeaRoom Challenge (TRC) is our annual event combining gnarly mountain biking with the civility of a good cup of tea and delicious cake.

It is an adventure race format where the checkpoints are either tearooms or photo opportunities.

This years fantastic TRC took place on Saturday the 3rd of November, based near Coniston Water in the South East Lake District.

32 teams took part, all of them finished, some having scoffed more cake than others!

Feedback has been excellent - everyone had a fantastic time and more importantly, over £1300 was raised for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.


The results for the TRC 2007 have now been uploaded
Did you miss a checkpoint? Find out where the others were hiding.
Still not sure if that photo of you falling into the ford made it to the net? More than likely!
You can check the final total on the justgiving page

What's it all about? Race report from your hosts - Col and Gem.

TRC 2007

What an incredible event! It was a pleasure to organise and over £1300 was raised for the MS society. Everyone embraced the spirit of the event by getting stuck in and giving it some welly!

Entries exceeded all expectations with a grand total of 64 Tea-mates making up 32 teams. One of the best entry requests was from Steve Kinsely – “I was thinking of entering with my partner on a tandem, but it's not a very off-road tandem”. To which the answer was “Yes! come along, and bring all your tandem friends!”

Tea-mates embraced our challenge to compete in fancy dress; from Top Gun’s Maverick and Goose, to some crazy Mexicans and not forgetting the Two-Must-Get-Tea-Ers!

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A quick look at the results shows that the average tearoom visitation rate was 3.97 tearooms per team, with four teams managing to get to six – hats should go off to these guys and girl. The “Real TeaRoom Race” results look like this:

  1. Middle Pocket
  2. Short and Stout
  3. Team Carrot Cake Challengers
  4. El Kendalos

Another interesting result is the “Couples League” which is shown here:

  1. All the Gear. . .Nae Idea!
  2. Team Sweetpea
  3. Team Earl Gray and Eve’s Pudding
  4. The Treacle Toffee Tandem Team

Pre-Race Prep

Most people got to The Church House Inn in Torver on Friday night; a special mention to Robin with a journey time of 11.5 hours from Bristol taking A-roads on his provisional motorbike licence. A warm welcome of local ales and a log fire was appreciated and for many the start of the challenge was getting out of bed on Saturday morning. The briefing and give out were at 9am, after which the mapping ensued. Tea-mates had to use grid references and clues to plot their route through bridleways and mountain bike trails to a maximum of eleven tearooms.


Teams assembled at 10am ready for the off. The fleet were lead out by some daft roadie in a bright orange MS Society t-shirt [ed: The unmistakeable Colin] who tried to maintain a steady pace whilst not getting swamped by lots of excited racers. An observer later commented that the way the fleet went around a Land Rover coming up the hill, was not unlike a swarm of ants! Luckily, for those who skipped breakfast, The Bluebird Café was less than 2 miles from the start.

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The Race

This years course was tricky and it was not easy to find an efficient route around the course with the terrain ensuring that the going would be slow. Due to the number of racers this year, tearoom points had to be reduced to ensure that participating tearooms wouldn’t be cleaned out of cake. This meant that it paid to visit more photo points though this would not have been so obvious until after the race – except for those veteran Adventure Racers out there!

According to some reports racers were somewhat eager for cake in the early stages with one gentleman piling his plate high at help-yourself-tearoom Bank Ground and Katie of ‘Team Gingerbread’ being really very excited by the mammoth portions at The Giggling Goose in Ambleside. In the latter stages, Carol at Bank Ground was seen refusing Sarah from The Jammy Dodgers to leave the table until she had another, much larger slice of cake – how cruel!

The owners of Betty Fold tearoom went way beyond their call of duty and provided a whole new working [almost] bike to Paul [Goose] after managing to break his own – now that is service! While the Minstrels Gallery in Hawkshead got into the spirit and started to grade teams with “Nice Points”; ‘Team El Kendalos’, Car-Crash-Dave and Robin “Epic Motorbike Ride” Bruce picked up some of these.

A talking point in the pub that night was the ford crossing, offering double points – only a few made it, but at least one from every team went for it and got wet; Laurie of ‘Team Scone with the Wind’ was a true gent, sacrificing his dry feet at the start of the 6 hour day.

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New for 2007 was the eCake challenge; each competitor was given a Tunnock’s Teacake at registration and was challenged to sell it for as much money as possible equating to points and more money for the MS society. Lucy and Hendy dominated [as they tend to!] in this challenge having no shame in taking money from anyone [to raise money for the MS Society]. They managed to raise £100 alone, with the fleet raising £270 in total.

The Finish

Teams came flying into the finish in a haze of sweat and heavy breathing trying to say where they’d been, what their team number was etc. There were many stories of mini battles against other teams on the way home, wishing they hadn’t had those last few scones. In the case of the winners, Team All the Gear. . . Nae Idea, they wished they’d had a few more cakes, scoffing energy gels in the last hour.

The score sheets were collected, the blanks filled in, the photos downloaded and results verified. Car Crash Dave did a superb job with the scoring. [Thanks Dave!] After everyone had finished, teams headed in to the pub for a heat by the fire and a wash in the sink; though a select hardcore few went for a dip in a nearby stream- Brrrr!

Prize Giving

After dinner, the prize giving was held, with most teams present – unfortunately a few had to rush off home. As well as giving out prizes for the top ten places, fancy dress and “Mare of the Day” prizes were awarded. The Two-Must-Get-Tea-Ers, won the racing fancy dress and Team GingerBread won the prize for evening wear! Team Crash and Burn won “Mare of the Day”, with the destruction of Paul’s bike and were given a Pedros PitKit to clean themselves up after the event. The ‘most happy boy ever award’ went to Bob who came fifth overall, with his TeaMate Jill.

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The complete results can be found here, but the top three teams were:

  1. All the Gear. . .Nae Idea
  2. The Master Bakers
  3. Team Sweetpea

The prize table was considerably bigger than last years with a uniquely painted teapot [thanks Eve!], some handmade wooden Teacakes [thanks Hendy’s Mum!], plus donations from Pedros [thanks Jack], Crank Brothers and Clifbars [thanks 2Pure]. The prize giving was followed by a fantastic evening of singing, strumming the guitar, drinking and chatting 'til the early hours.

Apologies should go to the locals of Torver who were left with just one barrel of beer to last them a week!

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Results Checkpoints Photos Fundraising