How a superheated tent helped this mountain biker to Olympic gold

Brit Tom Pidcock bagged a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, July 26, after beating out the competition in the men’s cross-country mountain bike event.

The 21-year-old athlete scored a convincing win, too, finishing the course 20 seconds clear of his nearest rival after 85 minutes in the saddle.

Pidcock credited his victory in part to a superheated tent that he set up in a spare room at his home while training back in Leeds, northern England.

The idea came to him after he heard about the oppressively humid conditions that would be waiting for him when he arrived in Japan for the Olympics Games.

Leeds, unlike Japan, isn’t known for its uncomfortably muggy conditions during the summer months, so the tent provided a way for Pidcock to acclimatize ahead of his arrival at the course in Izu, about 60 miles south-west of Tokyo.

During training, the athlete placed a bike inside the tent, ramped up the heat dial, and cycled on the spot, presumably sweating bucketloads in the process.

Speaking to Reuters shortly before hopping onto his bike to challenge for the gold, Pidcock said, “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.”

He added, “Basically, at the end of training, I jump in a heat chamber for 30 to 45 minutes and sit in a really hot box pedaling very slowly.”

The effort clearly paid off, with Pidcock winning the first Olympic gold of his life.

On the way to Monday’s achievement, the British cyclist also overcame a broken collarbone sustained just two months ago after being hit by a car while out on a training ride.

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