Kris Freeman’s body held him back in his 25th-place finish in the 30 k freestyle in La Clusaz on Saturday, but not in the way you might be thinking.
Rather than his blood sugar, Freeman said that his limiting factor was just plain old fitness.
“I think the race itself just wasn’t that great,” he said in an interview. “My fitness has been better than that this year.”
Freeman said he raced with his pump dispensing .4 units of insulin an hour on Saturday—roughly 80 percent of what he uses to lie on the couch. That was far less than he was using last year, when his efforts in the 30 k races were plagued by severe hypoglycemic episodes.
Freeman started with a blood sugar reading of 130 on Saturday and finished at 90, which he said was “pretty ideal.”
He said he was feeling strong for the beginning of the race, when he was mixing it up in the top 10. What hurt him, though, was a hard effort he made to close down a gap to Lukas Bauer (CZE) and one of the Russian athletes.
“I put a lot of energy into covering it,” he said.
But then, the two leaders slowed down, the field caught up, and Freeman said he spent the rest of the race “just trying to survive.”
While the 25th place wasn’t as strong as some of Freeman’s other performances this year, he said that he was still encouraged by the way his dosing worked—though next time, he said, he’d probably use a little less insulin, and take in a little less sports drink.
“My stomach wasn’t quite hurting me,” he said, but “it wasn’t asking for more fruit punch Gatorade.”
With just two American men racing in France, the team will not contest Sunday’s relay. After departing La Clusaz, Freeman will spend Christmas in Davos, Switzerland, then head to Germany for the opening of the 2011 edition of the Tour de Ski—his first time contesting the race. After success with his insulin dosing on Saturday—“a big question mark”—Freeman said that he was optimistic.
“I’m definitely excited that the blood sugar worked,” he said. “I think this puts me in a good position to do the Tour de Ski.”
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Nat Herz is an Alaska-based journalist who moonlights for FasterSkier as an occasional reporter and podcast host. He was FasterSkier's full-time reporter in 2010 and 2011.