But this year, with too many things taking up his time, he didn't put in the necessary hours training for the Grand Haven Triathlon.
That didn't stop the 36-year-old Grand Haven man from running away from the field to win the Grand Haven Triathlon sprint tri on Sunday morning with an overall chip time of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 58 seconds.
"I didn’t know what to expect, because I didn’t really train for this, so I figured I’d go out hard and hope for the best," said Zuelke, who also won the sprint triathlon a year ago.
The swim portion of the event is the toughest for Zuelke. After coming out of the water, he made up some ground on the nearly half-mile run back to the transition area at the Tri-Cities Family YMCA, then passed several other competitors on the 10K bike portion.
He was the first to start the 5K run, which is arguably his strongest suit. Nobody caught him, although Jeremy Hurley, the winner of the sprint duathlon (run-bike-run) did give Zuelke a scare.
"I saw him on the turn-around and knew he looked really fit, so I knew I had to push it," Zuelke said. “I knew I came off the bike first. I just hoped I’d have some run legs. I haven’t one any speed work at all, so I just tried to go hard.”
Somebody asked Zuekle if he knew his winning time.
“I didn’t even wear a watch,” he said with a laugh.
To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.