Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Si Richardson of GCN used to be professional Cross Country racer, so can Neil teach him some new tricks to help his riding?]
Low centre of gravity is vital, but can be difficult with a high saddle. To do this you want to apply your weight to the outside foot and keep your heels down. You can also shift your hips towards the outside foot and keep your chest low over the bars to ensure even distribution of weight across both wheels.
Keep your heels down to avoid the wheel skipping over the ground. The more the tyres are touching the ground the more traction you’ll get.
Dropping the Saddle:
As Cross Country trails have got steeper and more technical over the years it can be worth dropping your saddle an inch or getting a dropper post. Most riders can drop their seat by an inch without sacrificing too much pedalling efficiency.
Pumping is a great and easy way to gain speed over flats or descents. Pumping into the ground by pushing your hips down (imagine trying to increase the weight on bathroom scales) will help you gain speed over transitions on the trail.