I'm not sure if there has been a thread like this before, but I have been wondering about this for a while.
A fellow racer (better than me) and I discussed the motives of getting into this crazy sport, and I realized that, for most people, the drive to get into cycling and, eventually, road bike racing (or any kind of bicycle racing) is usually a result of a need to accomplish a very specific goal. I know that this might sound vague or obvious, but as a former baseball player (and a bad one), I thought about this.
I didn't really get into baseball on my own accord; my father and his family before him were in love with the sport and hoping that I would continue. While I eventually dropped baseball after lack of interest (or sheer laziness and refusing to do laps) and trying (and failing at) track, I ruled out sports all together.
There was only one problem: I was fat. I wasn't huge by any means, but I certainly wasn't where I wanted to be. I felt ashamed to look at myself daily, and I knew that just throttling my diet wouldn't be enough. Working at Midtown for a while only exacerbated the issue (because eating healthy is NOT a bang for your buck in the finance world). I eventually took up spinning, got interested, and bought a cheap Schwinn that eventually sheared at the seat-stay (bad mechanic).
A few months, a franken-road bike (look on the forums; it's here somewhere), girl problems and an accident later, I bought my Trek 1000 and the rest was history.
What are your stories like? What brought you into racing? What keeps you here?