Today is my birthday, and I'm getting old. Naturally, I set out to prove to mother nature that gravity hasn't won yet! I got out and rode at lunch today.
There was some mud on the lower slopes of the ride, but it turn to snow-only as we climbed higher. By and large, the conditions were super nice for this time of year.
I forget just how difficult it is to ride in the snow, though. It takes much more energy (like sand would), but it also takes more coordination and just paying attention to your bike. I believe it really exaggerates any poor handling habits you've lived with over the years (I have many). When you start out on the dirt from being stopped, for instance, you don't really care that your bike isn't exactly perpendicular to gravity. When you start in the snow, if your bike is leaning at all, you're likely to wash out before you get your second foot on the pedal. I also find that going fast (and turning as large a gear as you can muster) helps to keep you from wallowing in the snow and sinking. (Don't forget to lower the pressure in your tires, as well.) Overall, I believe it takes a lot more upper-body finesse to keep things upright. It was quite a workout (which has nothing to do with all the over-eating I've been doing lately--in case you're wondering).
Here are some photos (courtesy of Ricky and his mobile phone):