My second day of cycling from Krakow, Poland to Cadca, Slovakia was so much harder than the first. Not only was I now riding with a twisted ankle, but the distance I had to cover on the second day was nearly twice as far as the first and there was a big mountain pass I had to climb over about two-thirds of the way into the ride. Had this been the summertime, the pass alone would have been a difficult challenge in itself, but I was bicycle touring in the winter and this particular mountain pass was freezing cold and covered in ice and snow.
Luckily, there were few cars on the road, so I was able to climb (and occasionally walk and push my bike on the especially slippery parts) in relative comfort. After reaching the top of the mountain, it was practically all downhill from there. The ride was incredibly scenic, with the entire landscape covered in ice and snow!
When I reached my hotel in Zywiec, I quickly locked up my bicycle to a gazebo outside the hotel, carried my belongings up to my room on the second floor, grabbed some food from a local supermarket and then quickly fell asleep.
While the days are short when bicycle touring in the wintertime, the effort you put into the rides is so much greater. It’s hard work to cycle over ice and snow and constantly be on the lookout for the vehicles zipping past you. I went to sleep early and woke up late, but I knew I was almost there. I only had one more day of cycling to go before I would reach my destination in Slovakia!