You've ruined regular race reports forever for me Cy...which I'm fine with. As a secret roadie hiding out amongst MTB-er's I also think other bike sports would benefit greatly from this type of treatment.
I feel like relative effort is a dial that gains more clicks as you get older, I too remember only having two options, full gas or sitting still. For better or worse I got two injuries (ruptured spleen and torn ACL, both snowboarding) in my late teens that sat me down and said "Hey, you could be dead or immobilized. Think about that."
Recent discoverer of your work Mike and as a writer, I'll say you can off the couch an essay that's pretty damn compelling and relatable so you still got that going for you, hah!