"Hey - that guy on the bike looks like an irresponsible grad student!"

That was fun. My plan was to start from the Pacific Cycle parking lot, take the SW bike path to Seminole Highway, and do a quick Paoli loop - all told, just under 30 miles. The combination of warm temps and a low-lying bike path made the first mile of my ride more of a wade - my shoes and socks were soaked and I was cold. But I was outside, my bike was with me, and I was going to go for a real ride soon. I met a couple slogging in the other direction, and wished them luck and dry socks.

Seminole was dry, and I was pleased to find that I hadn't lost my cycling legs - the off-season running and weight-lifting paid off I guess. I climbed Observatory Drive around the halfway point, and very surprisingly, didn't feel too bad. People who've ridden it with me before have been known to comment, "That's strange - I HEAR an ashmatic donkey, but I don't SEE one anywhere." It wasn't a training ride for me - just a chance to put some miles under my wheels, so it really was a pleasant surprise to find that I hadn't lost too much cycling fitness in the off-season.

The Paoli loop was packed with cyclists - I was paying attention, and there were only two times when I couldn't see someone either approaching me or being reeled in by me. Almost everyone waved or said hello - we're a nice cycling community here.

The snow runoff outside of the city is really a sight to see, as stupid as that sounds. It's like tiny raging rivers coming down the sides of miniature 200' mountains. Really - some of them had whitecaps.

I think of the Madison package as three parts - the city as a whole, downtown/campus, and the surrounding countryside. If you live here and you're only experiencing the first two, you're only getting 2/3 of the experience you deserve.

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