Your verbosity is extraordinary...
I hear you on the 'salmoning' up the middle skills - I have a ways to go improving those. But a bigger factor at this point is fear of being dropped, and that influences my positioning to a great extent. It no longer should to that large a degree (well, pre-crash anyway) as I'm able to close gaps and bridge in my races: again, pre-crash. It feels good when you get to that point of no longer fearing the pack will just ride away from you.
The worst part of the crash has been the mental impact of feeling old and slow, in a way I never did before. Before, I was new and building my strength. I then got strong enough to certainly never feel "old" on the bike. You don't feel old when you drop 20-somethings. But being up there, and then losing it, really and truly sucked. I felt old and decrepit because, well, I -hurt-, and I was slow compared to my peer group. But this week, I definitely feel friskier. There are still issues to deal with (especially some apparent nerve damage), but I can tell I'm getting the strength back fairly rapidly.
Sunday's CR will tell me a lot. Last year in this race I attacked at the whistle and got my first (and only USAC) podium. This year I think I'll go conservative, and attack at the first turn. I'm doing the Cat 4 as well.
Just did an hour of Pace, with 10' of 1' criss-cross in the middle, approximated using PE and HR. New PM arrives tomorrow... hope the damned thing works!