The TeaRoom Challenge [06/11/2006] - an adventure race with a difference. One of the most comforting aspects of mountain biking in the UK is that there is never a TeaRoom very far away. The idea of the TeaRoom Challenge (TRC) was hatched during one of Team TeaCake's training rides prior to the Bristol Rat Race. The team took in a lot of TeaRooms on that ride and so Gem and Col came up with the concept of an adventure race focusing on tea, cake, cosy TeaRooms and a bit of cycling on the side. The competitors would range in experience and ability and the fastest riders would not necessarily win.
Keswick in the Lake District was a perfect base for the event due to its proximity to mountain bike trails and abundance of TeaRooms. The event was run in the format of an adventure race, grid-references for TeaRooms and 'photo-opportunities' were handed out an hour before the race along with the points allocated to each checkpoint.
Everyone carried a camera and took a photo at each TeaRoom showing before and after pictures of "Tea-for-two with two cakes". Additional rules included pinkies raised whilst drinking and exceptional manners towards all TeaRoom staff. Bonus points were awarded to any TEAmate who managed to tape a Tunnock's TeaCake to their helmet or bike and bring it back intact! The finish was in a pub (in-case anyone was thirsty?) and the final challenge was to guess how many biscuits were in the jar; 'Team F***ers' hit the target with a guess of 49!
Thirteen teams of two took part and one brave soloist- best known to most as 'Car-crash Dave'. Ironically, 'Car-crash Dave' did the whole event on a road bike spending most of his time doing sudoku puzzles that were worth bonus points. The winning team was 'Team Gingerbread' who were one of few teams that arrived back before the finishing time and so escaped penalty points! Only one point behind, in 2nd, was 'The Dunk-Drawgs' who managed a whopping 7 TeaRooms and consequently couldn't afford any dinner. In 3rd place was 'Team WD-4T', who hopefully didn't commit any traffic offences since they were displaying car number-plates of their team name. 'Team Fondant Fancy' won the award for the best dressed due to their colourful t-shirts displaying huge pink and yellow fondant-fancy images. A special mention in this category should go to the boys who dressed as the 118 men!
The event was a huge success and the feedback has been incredible. We can't wait to run the next event in 2007. With a bit of organisation we hope to be able to raise some money for charity in the process.