I race mostly in NCNCA. While I can hold my own in cat 4 RRs and crits, the quality of guys out here make 3/4 races difficult, there is no shortage of guys with FTP >4 w/kg. And I have a lot to learn about race dynamics.
At the masters district crit championship, in the 30-34 (cat 1-4) race I felt strong but the guys who took 1-2 made an early break that I couldn't bridge to. A broken spoke with 3 to go ended my race, but I got an extra 3 minutes to recover for the start of the elite 3/4 race.
Against cat 1s who focus on crits and are bigger sprinters I can usually make the breaks or moves on the climbing part of our tues/thurs world champs rides, on the return to the sprint finish I'm a non-entity, at best a guy in the break or a chaser. That ride always finishes in a group sprint.
Old guy, what's an open race? I've never seen a race where a guy could get a cat 5 one day license and race with 1s or 2s, maybe that's common where you live. Here though its usually a pro/1/2 field or the masters 1/2/3. 5s are lucky if they can race with the 4s.
I never said a cyclist who doesn't race can't be as powerful as one who does. Though a group of club riders all being faster than a team of racers is a little suspect. I've passed a Ferrari in my mustang, yet I know which is the faster car. I've also passed riders who were much stronger than I am.
I can relate. I have pretty similar numbers when I'm race fit. The 1K watts won't win you many sprints, not even later in the upper masters categories. I can train up to ~1200W 5s power when I focus on it for a few weeks, and that gets me nothing if there are any real sprinters in the final bunch. About the only chance we have is to make the last few minutes hard and get rid of the true sprinters (e.g., >1500W). I have a lot better chance winning with 30s at 700W than I do with 5s at 1200W.