Think I followed the other in the car not to miss them later and it would anyway be a long day. We went to Poronin (737m) in Poland to start the cycling this day up to the BIG climb Głodówka (1130m) (high point on ridge road). Looking ahead here at the Tatras mountains.
Here Pavel could be glanced in the photo – think we went sort of together up here, but in any case we came up at the same time. It was very nice from here and into Slovakia, where we now entered not to return to Poland again. Not sure why we stopped here as it is not the high point of the road and it just continues up through woods and then there are nicer views just after the high point, but maybe we were waiting for the others and this was the first place with good views.
Here I have stopped for a photo on the other side of Głodówka and now we are a bit closer to the mountains.
Here another photo a bit further on, I believe, and then we had a descent to Łysa Poľana and the border crossing to Slovakia. The road then climbs slowly over another saddle called Ždiarskie sedlo/Sedlo pod Prķslopom/Przełęcz Zdziarska (1081m).
Here we are somewhere around this pass, which is the eastern asphalt road boundary, while the climb around Vyšné Hutianské sedlo/Wyżnia Huciańska przełęcz yesterday (with almost the exact same road height) marks the western asphalt road boundary.
I then kept company with Pavel to Tatranskį Polianka (993m) and he knew the road, but went relatively fast, but no problem as it was easy to get there. It was decently nice on the way to Polianka and a much used tourist road of course. There is also a railroad station here (photo) and we again met up with others in the BIG group.
Here Pavel is discussing something with some other people, but soon we started out on the next and most anticipated BIG climb in the Tatras, the climb to Sliezsky dom (1670m), which is the only really hard climb in the Tatras. It is a very minor road with drainage gullies across the asphalt and I soon decided that I did not want to compete up this road and I think that Pavel might have won anyway as he is lighter than me and he quickly disappeared when I went down to normal tourist cycling speed. He won this climb for sure, but that was the only one ;-) – still a good climb to win!
It is 7 km with an average at 9.9%, so a good climb indeed! Here at the top in the heart of the Tatras.
Here a view up the mountains with the Velické pleso lake in front.
A photo of the typical sign post for the area.
There is a restaurant here, but apparently we were going to be moving on by car now again. Daniel and most of the others went back to the cars at Głodówka, so they got all up here around the same time as us. Nice location for a restaurant.
Here a last look back up the mountains a bit on the way down. The asphalt was great up here, but not perfect in the woods lower down.
We left the Tatras and headed down to the valley an westwards over to the mountains south of here to make a last climb for the day, Sedlo Čertovica (1238m), before heading back to Prague. We stopped in Krįľova Lehota (665m) and started out on the last climb of this nice BIG meeting.
Pavel and I went together all the time and now it was competition for sure. I let Pavel decide the speed and knowing he would go in a fast speed most of the way suited me well (as long as I could hang on, which I just about did). Tried to stay mostly on the outside of him to be more fair. We had a furious sprint and with the inclination it turned out we were very equal, but as it got slightly less steep just as we reached the pass, Pavel could not hang on. However, if he had brought his carbon bike instead of his old iron bike, I think he might just have been the one making it first as we were very much equally good for all I could make out (me being a bit faster on the flat and short hills, while he faster the steeper and longer it was).
Pavel wanted to win, but he also wanted me to try seriously to win, so it was all fine. Still Pavel was not in his best mood up here as we met some BIG members coming up to meet us at the Sedlo Čertovica. Pavel explained to me privately that Gabor (the Hungarian leader of the group and BIG manager (Pavel was the BIG manager for Czechia)) could not have had such a nice old bicycle (Austrian Puch, but Puch was bought up by Bianchi in 1987, but this is possibly a bit older) if it was not for his family having good contacts among the politicians in the former Soviet controlled regime. Apparently there is still a lot of bad feelings over these things in eastern countries and it was interesting to see. Anyway Gabor seemed happy to me and I could not judge this or whether he should not have ridden on that bike, but people here are obviously much more aware of such things (I do not believe this was just something with Pavel). Anyway not for me to interfere and Pavel surely understood this. Anyway, that explains why Pavel is just walking away when I had the photo here taken of Gabor (which was meant to include Pavel), as you can see.
In the photo above I was looking down south in the direction of Hungary from where the Hungarians had climbed this day (quite a distance!). In the last photo here is one of the two villages one passes by on the nice north side to the pass. Pavel went ahead to take a bath in the river before we left for the long drive back to Prague.
We got off and had a long, long ride mostly on the endlessly bumpy concrete motorway to Prague. We stopped once to eat, but was not back until close to 2:00 in the night an had to wake up the people at the bed & breakfast I had booked a bit outside the city. (We first left Pavel off.) Now, I had figured out that since I wanted to continue doing a normal tour of the Alps in connection with this and did not want to come back to Prague at the end, that maybe Daniel could take my big bike bag with him to Belgium as the car would now have more space with just him and Kevin, and I could connect to Belgium easier with train at the end of my travel, and had plans to continue on to England to see a concert and maybe do a few climbs in England. Daniel had agreed before, so I only needed to re-package things quickly so everything I would not need on the Alps tour was in the bike bag, but it was late and I was tired, so was a bit hasty and included my little bag with all toiletries, extra battery, spoke adjuster and maybe something more that I later had to complement as I went, but it all worked out fine.