Tom Pidcock: "I Didn't Feel Good but Everyone Just Told Me No One Will Feel Good"

Jul 26, 2021 at 2:56
by James Smurthwaite  

Tom Pidcock has explained how he battled against the heat and humidity at the men's cross country race at the Olympics.

Pidcock broke clear from the field on the fourth lap and ended up taking the win over Switzerland's Mathias Flueckiger by 20 seconds. However, Pidcock didn't find it as easy as it may have looked from the outside as temperatures in Izu today hit 30°C with humidity in excess of 80%. These conditions are alien to most cross country riders who ply their trade in the mountain ranges of Europe and sapped their legs of energy. Pidcock told Eurosport after the race, "Once the race started, I knew I was in a good place. The heat, I mean, obviously I didn’t feel good but everyone just told me no one will feel good."

The British rider knew the heat and humidity was going to be an issue before he flew to Japan and had even set up a heat tent in his home in Leeds, Yorkshire that he trained in prior to the Games. He told Reuters on Sunday, "I've been doing a lot of heat work, which I'm happy to tell everyone now, but before I didn't want to advertise it in case someone downplays the heat. Basically, at the end of training, I jump in heat chamber for 30-45 minutes and sit in a really hot box pedalling very slowly. My spare room has a tent in it. It keeps tripping the electricity actually, that's the only problem."

Pidcock also told the BBC he had lingering doubts over his collarbone that he broke in a collision with a car in June. The Olympics was Pidcock's first full race since he had surgery and he didn't believe he was in his best form coming into the race. He told the BBC, "In the back of my head I thought, 'I'm going to get to the Olympics, I'm not going to be in my best shape, we're just going to see how it is'. The last week I knew I was in really good shape but there was always doubt in the back of my head because I haven't competed at my best level so I've got nothing to compare but once the race is going it becomes routine really."

Pidcock is set to fly home immediately from Tokyo to begin preparation for the Vuelta a Espana road race but has confirmed he will not be leaving mountain biking fully yet. He joked with the BBC that he will now have to show off a golden bike and then he will, "see what's possible later on."


  • 121 1
 Pidcock and I have different ideas when it comes to hot boxing...
  • 13 3
 Joe Rogan had the same idea as both of you when it comes to hot boxing.
  • 15 3
 @scott-townes: A Joe Rogan sweat lodge in Texas has the making of cult written all over it.
  • 6 2
 @scott-townes: Joe rogan probs doesn’t even inhale
  • 2 0
 @mkotowski1: Mike Nolan doesn't exhale
  • 4 1
 @mkotowski1: Joe Rogan is a plug.
  • 42 5
 Heat and humidity my ass.
  • 64 0
 username checks out
  • 16 0
 Try taking a shower?
  • 6 7
 As a current DC metro resident, I agree with @FloridaHasMTBToo
  • 2 0
 @ski-bike-climb: What do y'all know about that? Sounds pretty nice being up there right now...
  • 5 1
 Missourian here. I'm with you. Peak summer here is worse than anything I experienced while living in Houston (but it just lasted way longer down there). I've seen British broadcasts talk about terrible heat in the UK when it's in the 70s (F)...
  • 3 1
 Gross, bro.
  • 14 0
 Heat & Humidity find Florida Man too stifling.
  • 1 0
 What's that?
  • 6 1
 @ksilvey10: as a British person suffering with the recent heat, its completely different for us, we're not set up for heat, our houses are insulated with central heating, not air con, and considering a hot summer 10 years ago got to around 23degC, maybe 25, the fact we're getting 30+ really is unbearable because we're just not used to it.
  • 9 4
 @inked-up-metalhead: British houses are also set up up for lots of moaning.
  • 12 0
 @HankDamage: well it is the national pastime...
  • 1 0
 Idk how you do it. I’m in GA and it’s miserable! I couldn’t imagine going even further south.
  • 5 0
The U.K. only functions at 15C with light rain; any colder/hotter/wetter/dryer and the country grinds to a halt/people die in the streets/the whole country floods/we run out of drinking water, respectively.

  • 2 0
 @ksilvey10: we moved from Denver to Bentonville last summer. I am from Atlanta are, but had been in Colorado, almost no humidity for 10+ years. Damn getting used to it again....sort of. We floated the Elk River just across the Missouri border last weekend and I fully agree with humidity in this area is nuts! Still enjoying the overall scene here though
  • 2 0
 @bman33: right on. We'll catch ya at Shepherd Mtn. and Howler sometime in the future (but maybe in the Fall when it's *nice*)
  • 1 0
 After ten years in Taiwan where the summer is nine months of 33 degrees and 98% humidity, a little piece of me dies every time I hear “it’s too hot” or “I’m melting” on a Teams call when it’s 23 degrees.
I used to wear riding gloves in winter only back in the 90s, then in Taiwan I had to wear them in summer to catch all the sweat that was dripping down to my grips from my armpits. Also my heart rate has not been over 180 since I left, and it used to take about three minutes of gentle spinning to get up there.

Japan won’t be that bad, but Leeds it ain’t.
  • 31 1
 I broke my collarbone in June (2020) as well and that was my excuse for not riding well this year as well. Seems like nobody will be buying it anymore!
  • 19 1
 I broke my collarbone in July 2012, definitely slowing me down.
  • 9 1
 @Glenngineer: I am scared of braking my collarbone since forever, definitely slowing me down.
  • 1 0
 Same boat here haha
  • 2 0
 I busted mine in late October 2014, healed without hardware. Did a gravel race in March 2015 on a course loaded with 'rough ice' and could feel that it was still a lil flexy. Good times!
  • 1 0
 broke mine about two weeks before this British guy. think I'm done until autumn at earliest. How did he do this!
  • 2 0
 @twozerosix: Plate and screws, just have to deal with the pain.
  • 31 0
 So Tom went to the pre race event and knew the plank for the drop had been removed - smart move.
  • 16 0
 He also knew how to clear the obstacle in front of him that didn't pay attention. Impressive
  • 3 0
 @m1dg3t: Yeah his dodge was mighty impressive...that crash looked nasty. Love that the course had a few features to make sure it wasn't just a lung capacity/quad contest and made sure people could ride the bikes. Crappy for MVP. Not something he will ever forget no doubt. Felt gutted for Cink also.
  • 24 0
 he said he would win and he did....i'm going to win the lottery on Saturday, worth a try!!!
  • 28 0
 I think you have to go and sit in a heated tent until then to make it work
  • 2 0
 Yep, I was born to win a lottery as well! Wink
  • 12 0
 @johnny2shoes: you've misunderstood how this works. you sit in a heated tent to win a hot mtb race, you swim in a Scrooge McDuck vault of gold coins to win the lottery. You're welcome and thank you for coming to my TED talk.
  • 7 0
 Team Ineos = marginal gains.

Interesting that Tom’s team mate just won the men’s road race. I am guessing Ineos were considerably more involved in Olympic preparation than British Cycling or Ecuador Cycling for that matter.
  • 2 0
 I wouldn't necessarily make that assumption, though hopefully someone will ask him.
I think Tom is just one of the strongest, most punchy bike riders in the world and his main competitor nailed himself on lap one (unfortunately for us fans).
It'd be interesting to know the basis on which Matt Simmonds was sent to Tokyo with the MTBers - presumably funded by BC to help with the skills element on that awesome course?
  • 2 0
 There's a Ineos youtube video of them doing testing for Pidcock's mountain bike. Search for "Pidcock Ineos off road" on youtube.
  • 1 0
 British Cycling provided him the "hot box"
  • 15 7
 If Skateboarding can qualify as an Olympic sport this year, surely Enduro has got to be in with a shout for future years?
  • 17 2
 I’d rather not
  • 14 1
 Lack of elevation means that DH/Enduro will almost surely never see the light of day at the Olympics
  • 3 3
 No one is going to build a dedicated chair lift for that.
  • 2 2
 @Venturebikes: so where do they do the downhill ski races in Winter Games?
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: They generally hold Winter Games in "mountain" cities with easy access to those facilities. That is less so now they are struggling to attract host cities though.
  • 1 0
 @Venturebikes: they normally use satellite towns/areas for different sports in the olympics.
  • 3 0
 @meridaAM: and the summer Olympics have been held in cities close enough to mountains as well: LA, Barcelona, Rio, etc Hell, these games are right next to Mt Fuji! I think it's a national park so they're not going to build a lift, but the argument that "there is no elevation" doesn't hold water.
  • 11 0
 I want DH and Enduro in the Olympics, IDK if I want the Olympics in DH and Enduro.
  • 3 1
 The continuing absence of DH seems increasingly jarring with each Olympics, to me. Wish PB had asked the athletes if they wanted it in, when they did that survey. Enduro's arguably still a bit new as a sport TBH.
  • 2 0
 You'd have more luck with slopestyle
  • 1 0
 @mattg95: Arguably from the POV of building a course in the host city, yeah. But the individual timed racing format of DH would fit the Olympics better IMO.
And it's not-uncommon for some events (e.g. sailing) to be held 100 miles or more from a host city.
  • 2 0
 Make 4X Great Again!
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: but the addition of enduro and/or DH means that an summer olympic city HAS to been next to a mountain with decent elevation
  • 1 0
 @DanielP07: no, it literally doesn't. When London hosted the Olympics the sailing was on the south coast.
  • 2 0
 @4thflowkage: The absence of on-course advertising in the Olympics is refreshing.
  • 1 0
 @boozed: ABC or whoever does coverage in Australia must be better than NBC here in the US. I'd gladly trade a Mercedes parked near the course and some Shimano signs but no commercials on, instead of 2 minutes of commercials every 5 minutes or so on NBC (or NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Olympic Channel, Peacock, or wherever else they put it). I counted 3 f*cking ad breaks before the first men's lap finished, so shitty.
  • 1 0
 And they didn't even start covering the women's race until half an hour into the race, it seems.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: ABC I wish! It's on Seven, and the TV coverage is terrible. Frequent, long ad breaks and then a highlights package after every break before you can get back to the sport you tuned in for...

Fortunately, Seven is also streaming almost everything live on its digital platform. The ad breaks are much shorter and far less frequent. RIP broadcast TV.
  • 1 0
 @DanielP07: not really. This XC course is 150 km outside Tokyo, a 2+ hour drive away in Izu.
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: I've only been the the US once, but I do wonder how anyone manages to endure commercial TV there (with the incredibly frequent ad breaks).
I guess that's why HBO & streaming services like Netflix took root so well there.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: yeah, those who care and can afford it get better services and just don't endure the adverts. or you keep the cable or satellite (or free-to-air even) and just DVR everything and skip the ads manually. it's pretty shitty otherwise
  • 10 1
 Kudos for spoiler alert and not giving away anything in headlines
  • 1 0
 BBC/Discovery+ screwed that particular pooch for me.
  • 5 1
 I understand why Tom doesn't have an official MTB supplier and rides an unbranded BMC - but still... WHY DOESN'T HE HAVE AN MTB SPONSOR?
Hope his agent is now negotiating with Ineos to allow him to ride Pinerello on the road/CX and a different brand for MTB, he deserves to get paid (more).
  • 8 5
Imagine if there were some photos of him from the race he's talking about :/
No budget to make articles reach the next level?
  • 18 0
 The IOC owns all the global media rights to the Olympic Games, and for Olympic games it gives the rights to 1 media company per country, i dont know who won the rights for Canada, but it wasnt Pinkbike for sure.

So it made no sense to send a Photographer.

In case of the US, I think NBC got the rights this time, it wasnt Outside for sure either.

The IOC is corrupt and oldfashioned as h$ll.
  • 3 1
 @Narro2: CBC owns the rights and their coverage is crap! Canada had 3 women in the road race and not a single clip or pic of them racing was released by CBC.
That's why we won't see piddock's performance on here, sadly.
  • 1 0
 @paolocolletti: yeah big media companies are only good for broadcasting the soccer world cup and the superbowl, that's it, and i cant stand soccer.
  • 5 0
 It's not like the IOC wants more pictures out of their event that they don't get $$ for.
Coverage in the US REALLY makes you appreciate how RedBull covers mtn biking. RedBull is far from perfect but the NBC coverage is just terrible.
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: Yep, it is NBC. The male announcer for the road events is annoying as f**k. I have literally turned down the volume to not tear my hair out. His female partner does a good job though.
  • 5 0
  • 4 4
 One medal for Yorkshire . I don't know why he needed a heated tent it has been boiling in Yorkshire for weeks.
  • 1 1
 Not me going for a 93 degree, 47% EASY Summer-day ride today... Have done many with heat index over 100 in 80%+ humidity
  • 1 0
 He is young and I am sure he will have more chances to win a medal
  • 1 0
 SR Suntour back on the map!
  • 1 0
 Well done!
  • 4 6
 Dump BMX and Skateboarding.... make DH The headliner.. racing the clock is better than subjective points
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