We caught up with Kris Freeman in Sapparo, Japan, where the US Ski team is preparing for the 2007 World Champs. With the start of the Championships only 2 days away, Kris was happy to give the US X-C skiing community some insight of what to expect the next 2 weeks in Japan.
Kris, which races are you planning on starting, there was talk of you possibly doing a sprint race? Is this still in the game plan?
After going back and forth several times I have decided not to sprint at Worlds. The sprint is being held in an indoor dome that is separate from the distance venue. If I did the sprint I would have to test my skis at both venues, which would take away from my preparation for the distance races. I had some success in domestic sprint racing but distance racing is my focus. I will compete in the pursuit, 15km freestyle and the 50km classic race.
How is your preparation going into the Championships?
I feel that my preparation has been going very well. I am basically resting right now. I feel healthy and strong which is the complete opposite of the way I have felt at this time the last three years. It has been very rewarding to feel better and better as the year goes on and to have my results improve.
What is Sapparo like, how are the racecourses and do they suit you?
The hotel here in Sapparo is very comfortable. We are staying at the same place as all the top teams, which is a nice change. The trails have great terrain and suit me very well. The up hills are long and sustained but very ski able. The descents are a little over the top. They are steep with a lot of sharp turns. They would not be an issue in a time-trial format but there is sure to be some carnage in the mass start races. That is probably the idea as crashes make for good TV. The main challenge will be ski and wax selection. The weather hovers around 32 degrees F and spits snow intermittently all day. The saying around here is “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”
How has the adjustment been living and training in Japan?
I have had a smooth transition. The Japanese people I have encountered have been extremely helpful and service oriented. The trails and grooming have been excellent.
How is the food, you know I am a big sushi fan?
Good for you, should I bring you back some? Seriously, I will eat anything, but sushi is not my favorite. As a diabetic, I was having some trouble at the first hotel when we were served traditional Japanese food. Whenever I eat I have to balance my carbohydrate intake with an insulin injection. I could not identify any of the food on my plate so I had no idea of how much insulin to take. I have memorized the number of carbohydrates and the glycemic index of just about every food but some of the stuff served at a traditional Japanese restaurant is beyond me. But at our current hotel, the food is very western and I have had no problems.
Thanks Kris, and Good Luck