Effective ways of targeting a race - How to choose your "A" races?

Looking for advice, how do people select their A races?

Do you choose these based on likelihood of getting a great result (podium, top 10 etc) or do you choose them because you want to be at your peak fitness to do as well as possible?

There may be overlap there of course but I am wondering if choosing A races from races where I’m more equally matched to more of my competitors is better than choosing an A race where I’m likely in the middle to lower half competitively. (road races).

Winter training could go great of course and I could be stronger but keen to know what others do.

It could be any of these. It’s just whatever is most important to you.

If simply completing a 200 mile audax, for example, gives you more satisfaction than coming 5th at your local cyclocross race, then train for the audax

For the past several seasons I picked my A races by targeting races where I was most likely to get upgrade points. That was my overarching goal, get enough upgrade points to move to cat-1 on the road. That made it fairly easy to target specific parcours that suited me and that goal

If you don’t have an overarching goal like that then I’d suggest you decide what you are chasing and what would give you the most satisfaction. Do you want to win a race? Be competitive in a race where you’ve previously been dropped?

Then pick and target based on that

I think you both nailed it with the word “satisfaction”, I had not thought of it in those terms. That helps, thank you. I think what I need is almost a goal within a goal. So maybe not thinking of the outright result but thinking “top 15” or whatever I feel is a challenge.

Typically, satisfaction has been a big role in my targeted race. Especially since most of my races are part of a series. I have picked ones that the previous year I blew for some reason and know I can do better; others because they always kicked my butt.