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Some more suggestions..

Revise your attitude some..Going out on your first race with a goal of "just wanting to finish.." Not a good attitude..a realistic assesment of your chances, perhaps, but I think you'll have better results if you try ' winning'...after all, it is a race and that is why you are there. A training ride is where staying with the group is the goal....You'd be best served to do everthing you can, over the whole length of each race, to work for the win. Keep sharply focused .
Many "also-raced" riders get 'lost' in the mid-race, mid-pack mind-set. A few miles out, it is easy to think.."cool, I really can do this, this isn't so bad.." and then you kinda lose focus...I've done it myself...and missed a break, or got gapped through my inattention, or because I was focused on keeping on a wheel then looked up to see the leaders had jumped. Falling asleep in mid-pack just means you have to waste energy catching back, energy you should use more intellegently on your goal, not energy you have "extra" to squander on "napping" A rookie mistake and easy to avoid by staying focused, staying awake!...
Racing is very very different from training or club fun rides..Sure, the same moves, same sort of egos, etc. but you should keep the final goal (first across the finish line) in mind for the whole length of the race. It takes concentration, and lots of it to get good results...more intense concentration than most rookie race riders ever even imagine. Watch everything, keep alert, see who is doing what, who's strong where, who is helping who, make plans, adapt your plan to conditions, think think think...Also, effort...Be prepared to ride harder than you may ever have ridden..No re-group pauses in a race....
Oh, and don't "go off the front" in your first race...common rookie mistake..(don't ask me how I know)
Have fun with it. Racing is a strategy game as well as just an exercise in conditioning and trying to be the strongest rider..Keep track of your mistakes as you gain experience and improve your strategy for the next race..the strongest don't necessarily win every race..
Don Hanson
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