Originally Posted by Netdewt
What distance should I try first? There is a .5/15/3 mile event near me in June.
How much gear should I invest in? There are tri suits available for $50-75-ish right now. June here may be a little chilly, but not bad - I have wetsuits but not a tri specific one. Do I need aero bars on my road bike?
The above sounds fine. Always best to try a shorter distance race first. Running off the bike is a odd feeling if you haven't practiced, so I would recommend including brick sessions (run session straght after getting off the bike) prior to the race.
Try swimming in one of your wetsuits before the race to see if you can. Swimming wetsuits are cut differently as to not restrict your stroke, so your current wetsuit may not work. On a shorter swim you may get chilly but should get through the swim quick enough for it not to be a problem.
If unsure whether tri's are your thing, I wouldn't bother with a tri suit.
If you have practiced and adjusted your seat position, aerobars will be faster. Do you need them? No.