Welcome to the future! The world is suddenly in a true state of transformation. Millions of people have transitioned to remote work. Prior to this year, remote work had never been too widespread. Despite its robust growth throughout the 2010s, estimates from the later part of the decade put the percentage of workers who were fully remote near or below 5% [Source 1] [Source 2] [Source 3].
It’s important to remember that “remote work” does not mean “work from home”. While some use the terms interchangeably, there is an important difference. “Work from home” simply replaces the need to be at one’s desk at the office with the need to be at one’s desk at home. It is one of the ways people are attempting to recreate the office online in these strange times.
Conversely, “remote work” means working from anywhere, as long as the job gets done and the responsibilities are handled. Alongside several other societal developments (asynchronous communication, updated views of stakeholders and others), truly embracing remote work has the potential to create a freer and healthier world!
My mid-July experiment came from my desire to escape the heat. In Colorado, we escape the mid summer heat by going up in elevation. When it comes to towns in North America, it is hard to find one higher than Leadville, which is above 10,000 feet in elevation.
I traded near 100 degree heat for cool mornings and pleasnt days (highs usually in the low to mid 70s) at a relatively affordable price by renting a studio unit with excellent mountain and sunset views.
Perhaps because I visited during the only somewhat warm part of the year here, there were a lot of people walking around, talking to each other and such.
I could feel the spirit and the history everywhere I walked and never needed do more than a slight turn of the head to see some of the amazing natural beauty of the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
Perhaps the best way to get the vibe of a small town like this one is to visit a coffee shop on the town’s Main Street (in this case Harrison Street) at 7:30 A.M. on a weekday morning.
Since there is no major ski resort, or other major tourist attraction, Leadville felt like it had a more genuine small town vibe to it.
A great introduction to cycling in Leadville is Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail.
The Mineral Belt Trail is a 12 mile loop that passes through town, as well as some of the historic mines in the hills nearby.
For visitors, I definitely recommend riding this trail in the counter-clockwise direction. In this direction, the ride will start with a climb in the woods, with a chance to look back at Colorado’s highest point and some chance encounters.
Although the climb is not big, the summit is a must stop!
Much of the next section of the trail is a homage to Leadville’s mining history.
Then, it opens up to a wonderfully scenic descent.
This ride is one that could easily be thrown into a lunch hour or break in a work from anywhere situation.
There are plenty of ways to find rides that are somewhat longer and more challenging. On this trip, I took on a the ride around Turquoise Lake.
The ride totals between 20 and 25 miles depending on where in town the ride originates and whether or not any side trips are taken to look at some of the scenic overlooks.
The main considerations for this ride are…
1. It is not particularly popular among cyclists
I did not see any other cyclists, nor did I see too many cars.
2. On the south side, the road is closer to the lake.
However, there are still some hills.
3. The north side of the lake has a bigger climb
And a descent where a cyclist could easily break the speed limit!
Oh, and a great overlook of the town!
4. The road itself is not in the greatest of shape in all places
There is definitely a need to be somewhat cautious on some of these descents.
Finally, Leadville is a great place for longer, more challenging rides. Heading north out of Leadville, one can either follow highway 91 over Freemont Pass.
Or follow highway 24 over Tennessee Pass.
Or take on the 80 mile loop that makes up the popular Copper Triangle, which would include riding up Vail Pass as well. A very scenic but challenging ride.
Regardless of what riding one does up in Leadville, there are some important considerations. First, at these high elevations, there is always the risk of wind and rain, which would make the trip take longer than anticipated.
In fact, along the Mineral Belt Trail, there are several shelters built for cyclists to wait out an unexpected storm.
These storms are more common as the afternoon progresses. With some chilly temperatures in the morning, even in mid-July, the ideal time for cycling in the Central Rocky Mountains would be in the late morning through early afternoon. In this, my first true experiment with the new work from anywhere era, I did not do the best job of arranging my work and activities to align with this reality. Luckily I did not encounter rain, but did encounter plenty of wind. As we navigate this new world, the key will be to synthesize life and work in a new way, aligning work, time and place considering the expected conditions associated with the seasons and the atmosphere. Once we effectively manage these conditions for ourselves, our lives will be richer and more fulfilling than ever before!