Two hours earlier made a big difference, temperature-wise. It was clear and sunny but didn't get hot until we started climbing. Although I was still pretty cautious on the downhills, I had my best time riding up My Nemesis and I only had to walk two of the Sweet Sixteen switchbacks, which helped boost my confidence. There were a good number of other riders out there on the Round Valley trails but it wasn't too crowded. The coolest thing of the whole ride happened when we were on the back half of the ride, cruising down Rambler: three unicycle MTBs were riding up the sagebrush switchbacks - one rider was a chick! Another regular MTB rider and I pulled off to the side to let the unicycles go by; as they passed us, this other guy muttered, frustrated, "I can't even do this on two wheels!"
Starting the downhill Rambler switchbacks
Because we'd started earlier, we were up at our picnic spot on Guardsman Pass right at noon. The sun was strong but the breeze was still cool, making the pause for post-ride refreshment pleasant. I'm slowly regaining the ground I lost after my crash a couple of weeks ago - this very nice ride definitely took me in the right direction.