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.