A good warmup does wonders. But you can start with form sprints. Then move to 1min max efforts. Then graduate to V02 intervals. But mixing in form sprints will help with generally getting the hole shot. Then settle in with the top 3-5 riders and work back into a high pace. I'm a terrible sprinter but a few sprints mixed into training here and there will make a quick difference. Good luck!
You have to teach your mind and body to deal with high intensity effort such as a race start. It's equal measures mental and physical IMO. I suggest starting some rides with solid climb something that you suffer with for the first few minutes. Train yourself until you get to the point where you don't suffer those first few minutes anymore. Do some race simulations. I've been using Strava to help me push harder on uphill sprints and the data has helped me a lot.
A good warm-up will help as all have said and mandatory. Once I get into the start line, I do some breathing exercises. Specifically heat and energy creating "fire in belly" type breathing to sustain the heat and energy I created in the warm-up. A few "ohhmmms" on exhale are a good measure too. It's a great psych out to your competitors and you can still talk smack between breaths......
Silliness aside it helps keep the energy level (heat) as you wait for the start and helps quell the pre race jitters. The other trick on starts is to know your competition. I'm a back of the mid pack scrapper on a good day. So I set my expectations and make sure to pace my start accordingly knowing that those skinny fast guys will be ahead of me know matter what. Learning your race pace is key. There will be guys that blow up mid race, you can reel those guys in and finish strong.
The best training for racing is racing. So enjoy a few races with the mindset of a beginner and lower your expectations and you'll gain huge strides in your race craft.
+1 on warmups. If you feel your body "finding it's groove" at a certain point, that is generally an indicator of when you are warmed up.
Most importantly, make sure that your warm up isn't just an easy spin or session on your trainer. Structured warmups are much more effective. Don't be afraid to put in a few clearing efforts (15-30 seconds @125%FTP or about an 9/10). Try to time your warmup so you have time to drop your heart rate and recover from your warmup, but keep spinning as long as possible until the start.
Regarding training, try to structure your workouts with race start intervals. My go-to is 4 15 minute efforts at 9/10 that start with a 30 second to 1 minute 10/10 effort.
And you can't overestimate technique and mental preparation as mentioned above. Just as vital as fitness IMO.
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