La Veta-Cordova Pass

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Originally Published in my column for RoadRUNNER Magazine on: 6/26/2014

Making a Pass or Two in La Veta: La Veta-Cordova Pass

As promised, I pick up where I left off last week in the middle of a hail storm just south of Trinidad on my way to La Veta, CO, pronounced like the cheese (Velveeta). For almost 20 years I have insisted on pronouncing it with a short “e” sound, but upon arrival in town I finally ask a local who sets me straight. No more pretentious sounding East Coast pronunciation.

I have chosen to stay at the La Veta Inn after a quick call to Kurt at the front desk confirms availability. The inn is a welcome sanctuary for bikers passing through this piece of the Trans-America Trail. It is a beautiful, old rustic place with each room uniquely painted by a different artist. I am only a couple of hours from home by highway, but before heading that way, I plan on riding a portion of the second half. Then I will go home for a weeklong break. My friend Ben is coming to join me tomorrow so tonight I have some time to relax and recuperate. It just so happens to be National Tequila day so I work with the bartender to come up with various margarita concoctions to pass the time. It is a wonderful way to spend the evening as the chef prepares a mouth watering southwestern meal, made more exotic with curry, to accompany our libation creations! We consider a curry margarita, but decide to pass on it. Eventually, common sense dictates that I say goodnight to the staff and head to bed.

In the morning, common sense has left me in bed alone—such a fickly partner. Rather than relax and perhaps take advantage of the local masseuse, I choose to head south down the Highway of Legends; one of my favorite roads in Colorado. If you ride on the main road you go right over La Veta Pass. At the summit there is an off-road detour towards Cordova Pass. I have never taken the time to ride it, so I figure today is a good day to head up. As I reach the summit, I think to myself, “sometimes the only way to recover from a long ride is to take another ride.” Seems logical to me. After a short hike to get a better view of the Spanish Peaks I head back to La Veta to meet up with Ben. Tomorrow we will tackle the La Veta to Salida portion before heading back to Denver for a week of R&R. Rest and Repairs!

  • Storm Chasing in La Veta
  • Entering La Veta
  • Welcoming the Hail
  • La Veta Inn Room
  • La Veta Inn
  • Cordova Pass Tunnel
  • Cordova Pass Summit

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