So it's been 7 years since I last raced (Senior 3). It appears I can renew my expired USA Cycling license online as a Cat 3 without having to run the gauntlet of newbie racer chaos.
I've joined a local racing club and have been training with them for several months now. The speed and endurance are coming back; I expect to be ready to race by February.
Looks like I've got a couple of options now. Race in the 3s, or the M35+ crowd (I'm 36). I'm trying to figure out what's the best group for my first few races back. These would be SoCal crits and road races only. The guys in my club seem to think the M35 crowd is pretty brutal speedwise; but they don't know much about the Senior 3s cuz they're all too old.