Kris has been in Otepaa, along with the rest of the team, for several days now. Travel over there was long - they were an hour late departing from Chicago which put them into Stockholm an hour late. Unfortunately they only had 50 minutes to catch the plane to Estonia. So they had to wait another six hours in Stockholm for the next flight. Surprisingly, Kris didn’t sound too put-out by the inconvenience. I guess travel is hard no matter what, so you’ve just got to roll with it.
Kris has felt pretty good since he got over there. He uses sleeping medication to help put him on schedule after a big time change, and he’s stayed on through today because he had an intensity session planned for today. The course over there has been expanded to a full five K (last year’s was 3.75) with the addition of a single large downhill followed by a single large uphill. It has made the course much harder. For today’s intensity Kris did two laps of the race course. The first one was at threshold and the second one was at a base level near threshold, but going for more on the hard sections. It wasn’t a perfect test - he used different skis, and encountered some course construction which slowed him down at times. But what he found was that he gained between 20 and 30 seconds on the second loop. However, the cost was very, very high. It was good for him to see that he can stay close with a totally sustainable effort. That will give him the confidence to start conservatively and build the effort through the race.
Kris’s analysis of today’s intensity session is that it was the best sensations he’s had in an interval session on snow this year. When he tried to tap high-end anaerobic power, it was there to be tapped. That was definitely not the case for him in Canmore. He’s continued to feel better just about every day for quite a while now - right through racing in Canmore and travel to Europe. He’s redefined normal so many times that his efforts to convince himself that he was “almost normal” prior to Nationals appear laughable now. Expectations for the weekend need to be somewhat muted because he’s never had a great first weekend in Europe. Kris is hoping for a top-20 result, and will be satisfied with a top-30 result. If he’s much worse than that then there’d better be an explanation!
Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at http://www.krisfreeman.net/. Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman