The problem with folks being in the strong void called cat 3 world is that you are committed enough to train to get past the cat 4 bump but you're not really in the strong 1/2/3 group yet...so you are competitive, maybe you've won some races in the past, and when you line up to compete you go into it with the mindset that you or someone that you are riding for is going to win the race. So here is the reality check. There are folks out there that are putting in a ton more miles than you are...and they are starting with a ton more base/experience than you are. Strong 1s and 2s that are killing it on the slopes of West Virginia or Wintergreen or racing hard in Pennsylvania are the true contenders. Sure, you get to race with them in a 1/2/3 race, but you better have some luck on your side if you think you're going to pull off something magical. My problem is that I "want" to be competitive in the amateur elite categories..not necessarily win, but be able to bang it out with the top dudes and be a part of the action.....not hanging on for dear life. Maybe that isn't a reality for myself or guys/gals in my position. Maybe that's where master's races come in. Doing the "under" category races or the master races is kind of like playing in the JV game at 2:30 and then sitting in the stands watching the Varsity guys.
So what is the reality check? There isn't enough time in the day to get it all done...unless you (and those who you are responsible for/to) are willing to make cycling one of, if not the, priority. Daydream all you want about a 3 man lead out coming out of the U turn onto Penn Ave (and maybe that might happen if all the big boys are doing the real "Varsity" race later in the day), but really...feel okay with the fact that the 3/4 race and an occasional 1/2/3 is okay and that you have to keep your results in perspective with your commitment.
This rain is making me crazy...
Cheers and good luck to those going to Jeff Cup.