I can't figure out if I'm just missing something, using the bike in a way that's inappropriate for SS or other. These guys I've been riding with have been racing MTB, some at a fairly high level, for the last 20 years and if they're chosing ~1:2 for the trails, I don't see how it's possible to do the same at 2:1. But if I geared to 1:2 or thereabouts, it'd be useless for any mixed terrain ride where there may be flat/smooth riding.>
2:1 26" here as well. I deleted my post above because I remembered M_V is riding in Scotland and they have proper hills there.
SS MTB requires good line choice and being ready to stand and crank. The extra leverage of a nice wide set of bars will help with hoofing the bike around a bit more. Spotted a root or rock comin' atcha? Don't just ride into it like a dead seal on a skateboard, get light, allow the bike to move below you, it's an organic force, stroke it, be the Golden Retriever.