Hi ladies -
Just getting caught up on this thread. I have a comment about the boots - I actually bought Gitana's SG-12's and have sometimes wondered if they were overkill. Weekend before last I Rick and I were out riding what turned out to be pretty technical single track with a lot of rocks and narrow trails and steep slopes. I was trying to get my poor little DR up this one face, Rick was pushing from behind and my bike kicked left and trapped my leg behind me and against a large rock. I am convinced the boots saved my ankle from an injury. I am also convinced my Sidi Adventures that I wear for big bike forest service road rides, in spite of their good ankle support, would not have saved me from an ankle injury.
Gear is very, very important. If you are riding technical single track and forest service roads learn to ride with the motocross boots. You're right, you cannot "feel" the controls but you can learn to know where they are, you can learn to not ride the brake and to be able to control your pressure on the rear brake. I didn't even get a bruise through the boots even though the pressure on my leg/ankle was enormous. To me they are very key equipment.
As for the pressure suit - I don't like the "pressure" of the pressure suit. They feel constricting to me. I wear my chest armor with shoulder and bicep armor, along with separate elbow armor. I have had some pretty dramatic crashes and have had my front end rebound on me causing my handlebars to hit me in the chest (not uncommon, BTW, for motocross activities) and my armor has protected me well. So whether you wear a pressure suit or a chest protector, just make sure you wear something.
Finally, on confidence. This is my first year on a dirt bike after riding large dual sports for several years. Going down steep hills used to scare the crap out of me - I would get so scared I would stop moving and I would then fall over - it's really hard to stay upright when you are barely moving! Not anymore. The change started to happen when Rick asked me how I would go down something on a mountain bike (I used to race mountain bikes, years and years ago) and something clicked for me that I have been building on ever since. As others have mentioned, I oftentimes just pretend I am confident going into something - I tell myself I can do it - I get stubborn and refuse to quit and always, always remind myself that I am doing this for FUN! I have made such strides this year I have actually outgrown my DR350, which I figured would be good for a few years. The suspension just isn't adequate for some of what we are riding so I'm looking to upgrade. I suspect by next summer I will have a KTM 350 in the garage.
Maybe next year I will run into some of you one the trails or maybe we can organize a women's ride here in Colorado!!!