Cycling: Speedster Sam Dakin finding new career balance in off-track coffee business

Track cycling star Sam Dakin has found solace in, of all things, roasting coffee beans.

The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist has started his own business out of his garage and has ambitions to expand.

He's using it as a release away from a men's sprint programme, which now has a pure focus on individual riders.

It's hard to fathom Dakin once hated coffee.

"The first espresso I ever tried was actually at my first international competition in Adelaide," he told Newshub. "I was 19 at the time, I sipped the espresso and I spat it in the bin right next to the coffee shop."

But the speedster's gone from spitting to roasting as, in a way, his own form of therapy.

"This has been a big recovery tool," he said. "I can come back from a big day of training pretty buggered and roast for an hour, and feel amazing."

The name - Slow - links back to Dakin's mental health journey.

"It's my ode to my journey, to my struggles, and the hope that people will take coffee and slow down in a world that's very fast moving, and take a moment to reflect on how amazing their life is, what's coming up and maybe how they can better themselves."

Dakin has already started selling the beans and has plans for expansion into the hospitality industry. Among those options is teaming up with fellow sprinter Rebecca Petch, who has her own coffee caravan.

"We've had some conversations, so it's just trying to figure out the right fit for her and ensuring that her customers are enjoying it as well," he said.

The NZ sprint team of Sam Dakin, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster at Tokyo Olympics
The NZ sprint team of Sam Dakin, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster at Tokyo Olympics. Photo credit: Photosport

On the track, Dakin's full focus is on the Paris Olympics, less than 18 months away.

Cycling NZ has made the call to scrap the once dominant and, at times, world-conquering men's team sprint programme, with individual events now the priority.

Dakin's excited by the blank canvas he's been given.

"I think it's nervewracking as well," he said. "If anything can happen, you can also lose, you can also not make the Olympics, you can also miss the standards, you might not qualify.

"That's one side of the puzzle, but then in 18 months time, I could be standing on the top of the podium as an Olympic gold medallist and that's pretty bloody cool."

The possibilities for coffee and cycling are endless.

"I want to be the best in the world."

And he may well be... in more ways than one.