Your derailleur may just need adjusted. If your chain has over a couple thousand miles you'll need to get a new cassette too...otherwise your worn cassette will just wear out your chain.
As for you position you shouldn't be in the curved part of your bars very often(they're called the drops). You should be on the flat part of the bar or the brake hoods 95% of the time. If you watch a pro race the riders are generally only on the drops at the end of a race, when they are sprinting on when they are on the front of the group.
Good to know. I just feel very dainty using the rails. there are two break mechanisms so you can reach the breaks from whatever position. I like to go fast as well so i guess i am naturally inclined to use the drops. Yeah my bike might need an overhaul its an early 80s bike and it looks all original.