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Speedplay's Richard Bryne and Ironman's Valerie Silk to be honored at TBI event

Published January 6, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (BRAIN) —Triathlon Business International will honor Valerie Silk and Richard Bryne at its 7th Annual Business Conference in Dallas later this month. Silk will be presented with the Ron Smith Award and Bryne with the Steve Hed Award for Innovation.

Silk as known as "the mother of the Ironman race."

"Everything about the race would have been entirely different had Silk refused the responsibility of handling the race after previous director Captain John Collins departed Hawaii to a new duty assignment," TBI said. "Silk was at a point in her life when she was looking for a new challenge, and having been tangentially involved with the race for several years previous, she accepted the role of race director with enthusiasm and determination. Silk put into effect changes that would prove to be beneficial for the Ironman race and for the sport of triathlon as a whole. Some of these changes included: moving to Kailua-Kona; instituting the hard shell bike helmet rule; changing the date from February to October; establishing qualifying races; going professional; instituting gear bags at transitions instead of allowing individual support teams on the course; and establishing the IronKids Triathlon Series."

Bryne created Speedplay's X-Series pedals to address issues that he had with existing clipless designs.

"His design was patented in 1989, but none of the 22 companies Bryne contacted were interested in licensing his invention," TBI said. "So, Bryne and his wife, Sharon Worman, founded Speedplay in 1991. To assist with the start-up costs to fund Speedplay, the initial production run of 100 pairs of X pedals was sold directly to interested consumers who had contacted Bryne before Speedplay was established. The company found its first success in the triathlon market, where competitors were open to new technology and keenly interested in products that were lighter and faster. Speedplay later gained traction in the pro cycling world with its first pro team sponsorship deal in 1997. Bryne's design was a double-sided pedal for simpler, quicker, safer engagement and featured retention security that was independent of engagement spring tension. The design included a true-locking mechanism that couldn't be overcome by extreme pull-up forces, and provided knee-friendly, friction-free float. Speedplay pedals also offer improved clearance when cornering and are extremely aerodynamic compared to other pedals."

Silk and Bryne will be honored Monday night Jan. 23 at the TBI Conference Awards Celebration along with the Triathlete's Choice Best-of Events and the media awards for best published article and photograph, and best event and product videos. 

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The Ron Smith Award, named after Ron Smith, one of triathlon's earliest pioneers, recognizes a person in the multisport world who helps advance and promote the sport of triathlon, who is a true influencer and who exemplifies a passion for advancing and promoting the sport. Previous winners of the award include: Bob Babbitt (2016); Marisol Casado, President, International Triathlon Union (2015); Karen Aydelott and Luke McKenzie (2014); Jordan Rapp and Kathleen McCarthy Hearst/Julie Moss (2013); and Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington (2012).

The Steve Hed Award for Innovation is named after Steve Hed who was a master innovator in the field of bicycle aerodynamics. The award is given to a person, product or company who demonstrates Hed's ability to set multisport industry trends. His toroidal rim shape set a new standard for wheel aerodynamics; his wider rims changed the trajectory of the entire industry; his one-piece aero bars were revolutionary. The inaugural winner of this award was Zwift in 2016.

Topics associated with this article: Awards, Triathlon Business Conference

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