Hello Tri2Hard, I see you are in Wiltshire. Lots of good sprint triathlons not too far away, and a really good tri club in Salisbury… it is not at all elitist and generally has a number of members who are / were in a similar position to you.
Why don’t you have a look at Ferndown Tri a Tri in October, it may be something to get you motivated over the winter.
I started triathlons 4 years ago (age 43), and was around 3-4 stone over weight, but reasonably fit. In a moment of madness, with no training or background at all, I entered the Osprey Sprint Triathon, in Weymouth, in October 2015, I actually entered it on the day. I was overtaken by a lady on a rusty Peugoet racing bike, and quite a few mountain bikes, but overall I did OK, but was pretty instantly hooked.
I joined Salisbury tri club, I bought a turbo trainer, and a Garmin 910XT Triathlon watch, My brother gave me his old TT bike (which I turned into a road bike with drop handlebars), I started running Parkrun and doing a mid week run. By Christmas I had dropped from 95kg to 85kg
By March I was down to 80kg. I entered the first race of the season, the Mad March Sprint Triathlon in the New Forest, I did much better than my first Triathlon and was even more hooked. At Easter I did a Parkrun PB of sub 25mins for the first time. I also bought my first proper bike from ebay.
That first season I entered, Ringwood triathlon, New Forest Triathlon, 2 Weymouth Triathlons, Bustinskins (the tri club in Weymouth) run loads of Triathlons, a Triathlon in the US (when I was on a business trip), and finished the year with the New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon. I ended the season at 75kg (more than 3 stone down form 12 months previous).
I am now a pretty good long distance triathlete. I recognise that not everyone is willing or needs to embrase triathlons to the extent I have done, however, it is a very welcoming sport, and a sport that I personally find immensely rewarding.
I would invest in these items:
A Turbo Trainer - get a direct drive trainer like a Tacx Flux, mid range is fine it doesn’t need to be top of the range.
A Triathlon watch, a Garmin 735XT is very good, a 935XT is brillian, but expensive, a 945XT is unnecessary
A subscription to Zwift over the winter