Well, that sucked. After Kris’s very promising 5th place finish in Kuusamo the race season simply unraveled. Even once Kris appeared to re-stabilize, taking World Cup points on four successive race weekends starting in Canmore, his attempts to shift up a gear by reducing the training load and adding a bit of sharpness to his fitness profile resulted in a complete collapse. Lahti, Holmenkollen and Bormio went from bad to worse to non-existent when he woke up with a fever the morning of the prologue of the World Cup finale.
Although he felt a bit better after that initial fever in Bormio, by the time Kris got home it was clear that he had a full blown viral infection. He went to Fairbanks for one more shot at racing, but he went with the full understanding that anything better than a disaster would be a pleasant surprise. Fairbanks wasn’t much better than a disaster - he managed to break-up the field in the 30K pursuit, but then got sick to his stomach and light-headed and started losing time very, very quickly. He dropped out of that race because it wasn’t clear what else he could do. Kris doesn’t like dropping out of races, and it doesn’t happen often. It was pretty clear that the tank was empty. In the 50K he skied gamely, and pretty well. The USST guys had variable luck on skis - Koos and Newell fared well, while Kris and Chris Cook struggled and Leif dropped out. Kris stopped to scrape off his wax at one point, and managed to hold a higher pace for a while. But all things told, it was another bad day on top of a long strong of bad days.
Kris and Pete and I have been discussing what went wrong with this season. In fact, we never stopped discussing how to make things better. The night before the Kuusamo race Pete and I examined scenarios and responses. We’ve never stopped asking ourselves how to make improvements, and this season has given us a lot to improve upon. But it’s also been important to examine what went right, and to avoid chucking the baby along with the bathwater.
At this point we’ve got a clear idea of the what adjustments need to be made for next year, and the camp schedule and rough training plan are in place. I won’t go into details now - we need to have some reason to update this site in the weeks to come. But the plan for the start to the training season will be moderation. For now Kris is spending some non-training time with Julie. He’s heading home before long to buy a condo and a car. He’s got plenty on his plate for the time being. He’ll be out here for an on-snow camp in the first two weeks of May, and that’ll mark the start of the ‘08-’09 season.
Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at http://www.krisfreeman.net/. Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman