Nice ride report. I did this run the prior weekend on the little bikes and that same stairstep got me due to lost momentum. Plenty of easy sections out there but also plenty of "challenges", especially for a new dirt rider. DO NOT return and attempt to do the Coke Ovens or Martinez Cabins/Mine. Maybe it's time to re-evaluate the advise of your "friends".
Congrats for staying with it, see you out there some day!
ps - scratches on a 950 just make you look more badass!