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TBI Winners! Best Tri Events, Videos, Multisport Retailers, Article & Photograph

Author: Jan Fambro

Date: 01/25/2016

Ron Smith Award and Steve Hed Award for Innovation

Marina del Rey, CA – January 26, 2016 – Triathlon Business International (TBI) announced its Top 10 multisport retailers; the best small, large and bucket list events; short and long videos; the best published triathlon article and picture; the Ron Smith Award winner; and the inaugural Steve Hed Award for Innovation at its TBI/ACTIVE Network Awards Celebration dinner last night as part of TBI’s 6th annual conference January 24-26 in Marina del Rey, CA.

Ron Smith Award – The 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. TBI’s Ron Smith award winner for 2016 is Bob Babbitt.

Bob Babbitt – Ron Smith Award Winner (Background)

Bob Babbitt started racing triathlons back in the late 1970s and went on from there to become a legend in the sport.  He co-founded and was co-owner of Competitor Magazine for 25 years, and then founded the Challenged Athletes Foundation. He is a six-time IRONMAN finisher, and is a member of the IRONMAN and USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. The creator of Competitor Radio, which is now Babbittville Radio, Babbitt has interviewed and written more about triathlon and its athletes than anyone in the history of the sport. He also has one of the largest social media followings in triathlon.

In his spare time, Babbitt created the Endurance Sports Awards Gala, founded one of the first mud series in the country, and wrote and published five books on triathlon. Babbitt’s journalistic excellence and promotional creativity has been instrumental in shaping the sport over the past 30 years.

Steve Hed Award for Innovation – The award 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. TBI’s 2016 Steve Hed Award for Innovation is Zwift.

Zwift – Steve Hed Award for Innovation (Background)

Zwift has turned indoor cycling into a multiplayer video game realm for cyclists, like a "World of Warcraft" for riders. It’s the answer to the extreme boredom for stationary pedaling.  Real-world cyclists ride with or race against one another in 3D computer-generated online environments.  Riders can communicate with one another through headsets with a microphone and can compare performances as they pedal through a virtual landscape.  Riders can participate in group rides or races with the avatars of other real-world users in a variety of virtual locations.

Zwift is inexpensive to play, requiring less than $200 in equipment.  A rider needs only a trainer and basic wireless sensors that measure speed and cadence.  Zwift has become the hottest innovation in building a global community for cyclists.

Best Triathlon Published Article and Image in 2015:

  • (Photo) Shot at 2015 Challenge Roth by Paul Phillips, Competitive Image, and published in
  • (Article) “Iron in the Fire” by Brad Culp, published in LAVA magazine

Best Events of 2015 – Voting was conducted through Survey Monkey with a minimum of 600 votes collected in each of three categories.

Best Short and Long Video of 2015 – Voting was conducted through Survey Monkey with a minimum of 600 votes collected in each of two categories.

Top 10 Retailers for 2015 -- The Top 10/Top 50 retailer list was compiled by publisher Dan Empfield through a voting process that is weighted 50 percent on suppliers’ votes (run, bike, component/accessory, wetsuit and apparel manufacturers and/or distributors) and 50 percent on consumer votes, specifically the readers. To be considered, the retailer must have a brick and mortar presence.

  1. Speedy Reedy, Seattle, WA
  2. Nytro Multisport, Encinitas, CA
  3. Moment Bicycles, San Diego, CA
  4. Austin Tri Cyclist, Austin, TX
  5. Athletes Lounge, Portland, OR
  6. Inside Out Sports, Cary, NC
  7., Tucson, AZ
  8. Gear West Bike and Triathlon, Long Lake, MN
  9. All3Sports, Atlanta, GA
  10. Tribe Multisport, Scottsdale, AZ

All winners and the Top 10 retailers were presented with specially-designed crystal awards from TBI corporate partner Ashworth Awards.

The TBI Conference continues through lunchtime on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and provides wide-ranging and timely information and discussion for everyone involved in the business and sport of triathlon, and the related sports of cycling and running. 

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