I was in a similar position -good hard tail orange mtb, cannondale commute bike, (my forum name was so obvious) and a cycle to work scheme ??1000 road bike with clip ons
I got a coach. ??600 a year. It made the biggest difference over the years
I got a mid range tri bike. It made a big difference, especially being comfortable on the trip bars. Any faster? Maybe but a good comfortable position was key
I had a bike fit that made a difference
Bought deep section wheels (eBay). They sound nice, make me feel fast, and maybe are fast, but not worth asuch as being coached (and doing the work...)
Then I bought a power meter.
If you have no idea about functional heart rate or ftp it's a waste Of money.
If you learn about the concepts, it's a great tool.
Especially for hard intervals and for racing / pacing to power caps in ironman. Ie stopping you going too hard on inconsequential little hills
I spent more as I got faster and fitter. I think you can get much faster with just volume in the first 3 years of IM. ie do the basic training, get really fit and you will improve. Then buy the power meter when you need intensity to get faster.
winter training kills nice bikes. But ??500 will give you a solid winter bike. Maybe ??750 for a cheap roadbike with disks....?
Then get a (club associated) coach ( or online coach if all else fails.... Mine is online )
Oh and it took me 4 years to accumulated all of the above... You don't have to hurry - you will still have the money next year :-/
Just wondered why your run style changed when you took up triathlon
My run style changed from fore foot (rugby player) to heel strike... (isn't that what this big soft foamy heel is for) then back to mid foot strike as I started to run on feel. That coincided with getting faster.
Now I am broken and slow, still Midford running and have repeated calf issues
You get what you pay for, and it's easy to spend money on rubbish....
FYI I bought a ??500 set of wheels for ??250 (vision 30 mm depth) and used them for 4 years on my tri bike and road bike. they did IM races, winter training, sportive. Then the rear hub died and the front rim is thin
Bought a set of ??1000 hed deep section wheels for ??500 from eBay
I save those for summer training and racing. New bearings and still going strong. They feel fast, but they are expensive
Bought a set of ??200 wheels for ??120,(shimano budget wheels) for winter training After I destroyed my crap commute wheels.
3 months of winter training and they are wrecked.
I've read cheap hand built wheels are the way to go For heavy winter training training.
Just spent ??800 on a set of training/Race wheels for the tcr... Disk specific hubs, dynamo on the front. These will not wear out so are worth the money... I hope