Kevin Weitzel needed to sell more than running shoes and bicycle tires. Nick Goodman needed people who had all their necessary equipment, but needed guidance.
It didn’t take long for the two triathletes and businessmen to realize they needed each other.
By brining their separate enterprises together - Weitzel’s triathlon retail store and Goodman’s triathlon coaching business - the men hope to bring more attention to sport and more triathletes to Scottsdale.
What they formed is Tribe Multisport, a training facility that is one of only seven in the country recognized by the United States Triathlon Association as a certified performance center.
“This area has plenty of bicycle shops,” said Weitzel, who began Tribe years ago following an Olympic bicycling career. “What we offer is your basic equipment, and you can get some direction as well.
“We cater to everyone from the pro to the schmo.”
The center recently moved to its current 9,000-square-foot facility on Indian Bend Road. It includes a large retail shop, pool, massage rooms and plenty of space for video analysis and many other strength and endurance testing rituals. And it’s that testing that Goodman feels separates Tribe from other facilities.
“There are many places that push goods, but not the services,” said Goodman, who gave up medical school to become a Level 2 USTA certified trainer. “With our climate and access to outstanding training resources, we want to make this area a place where people from everywhere want to learn and train.
“I didn’t want my life to be about working with sick people,” he said. “I want to help those who are driven to reach their goals.”
Tribe will have at least five people participating in their first-ever Ironman event Sunday. The Ironman, perhaps the ultimate one-day multi-sport event, consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.
“There is no doubt I would not be ready for this if it were not for Tribe,” said Diana Heintz, a 30-year-old Mesa resident who is among those five Ironman rookies.
“The direction they provide is great. The group workouts are really helpful. They have everything you need right there.”
Heintz said a big advantage of the Tribe facility is the way the trainers are able to make flexible training schedules. “Life happens,” she said. “And it was great to have a coach who could work with my schedule, and help me adapt my training.”
Weitzel and Goodman both know what it takes to reach the pinnacle in sports. Weitzel competed at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and Goodman is a three-time competitor at the Ironman world championships in Hawaii.
“I live vicariously through my athletes,” Goodman said. “I am there for them everyday. I will be there cheering them on during the race. It’s just as exciting for me. And I don’t have to do any of the sweating.”
The facility is already attracting members from the professional ranks including Jozsef Major, a multi-winner on the Ironman circuit.
“Triathlon people are, how should I put it … nicer,” Weitzel said. “I think because triathlon is a newer sport, they are not as cut-throat as cyclists can be.
“We service everyone from teenagers to those who are a slip on a banana peel away from the grave.”
Goodman and Weitzel want to host training camps in hopes of bringing people from cooler climates.
“There are always bumps in the road with a new business,” Weitzel said, “but we are here to make this succeed.”