Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Gainesville, FL
Bikes: Trek 1500 road bike, Giant Trinity Alliance tri bike
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Just because you "love your old trek road bike" is no reason not to get a tri bike. A tri bike has geometry designed for triathlons that puts you in a more aerodynamic position with the added advantage of saving your legs for the run.
If you want to stick with Trek, their Equinox TTX 9.5 comes in right around $4k and is all the bike you'll ever need. If you are willing to entertain options outside of Trek, however, there are many, many better bikes than the Trek Madone (and, IMO, better than the Equinox line) that you could buy for $4k, in my opinion: Cervelo P2C, Felt B2, and even the Giant Trinity Alliance series. I ride one of the Giants, and it's really 99% as good as bikes that cost 3x what I paid for my A2 with upgraded derailleurs. The list goes on and on.
Especially for Ironman, find a real triathlon bike that fits you and that saves you some money for aero wheels and an aero helmet. I can tell you right now that the $2500 Cervelo P2C with some deep rim wheels and an aero helmet will be much, much faster than a Madone with clip-ons and no aero wheels (since you spent all your money on the bike)!