Friday, February 09, 2007

A Week in Denver

We had a one-week company retreat in Breckenridge, Colorado that ended today. The best part is always meeting all the people I normally work with virtually throughout the year. Part of the activities this time (for me at least) included snowboarding. I was fortunate enough to have a co-worker that used to be a snowboard instructor. How fortunate is that?

I thought it would be easy, but I quickly figured out that mistakes on a snowboard are not forgiven. If it wasn't for Shaun, my instructor, I'd undoubtedly be feeling a lot more pain (Shaun, you're my hero, man). He learned the hard way; on his own. Other than the hard falls on my butt, the only other point of interest was the skier that sabotaged my first ski-lift dismount. I didn't fall sucka! Nice try though.

After years of regular exercise, I thought my conditioning wouldn't be a problem. However, even after the many warnings about the low oxygen content at high altitudes, I wasn't prepared for the effects of breathing at 9600 feet. I had been to Denver a few times, and there never seemed to be a problem. Add another 3/4 miles of altitude and its a different story.

Fortunately, the snowboarding didn't start until 2 days after I arrived, which was at least the amount of time I needed to be able to stop feeling like I had asthma. Even sleeping was near impossible, because my typical breathing pattern wasn't providing me with enough air, and I'd wake up hyperventilating every hour.

Eventually I got adjusted and everything turned out fine and dandy. Between the snowboarding, our group events, and the loss of oxygen, I learned a whole lot. I'm ready to go home though. Looks like its time to board Flight 240 to Oakland.