“He didn’t prepare me for how difficult it was going to be,” said Nic Witzke. About five years ago, Witzke’s father had plans to go to northern Italy with friends to do some road riding. He invited his son to come along. Witzke had about eight months to train for the trip. The bulk of his riding was his commute from Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood to the east side of Burnaby. Then, it was off to Italy. “It was super, super difficult,” Witzke said. “We did the Stelvio and Gavia and all these Giro routes. I said, ‘Dad, this is not like riding to Burnaby. This is insanity.’” The trip, however, did get Witzke hooked on road riding.

Witzke also credits his father for his other passion: coffee. After Witzke got his marketing degree, he applied his learning with a roaster in Vancouver. About two and a half years ago, he started working for Calgary-based roasters Phil & Sebastian. He’s currently an account manager with the company, which was started by two engineers whose obsession with coffee led them to start their own coffee business in 2008. Witzke really appreciates the founders’ scientific approach to making good coffee. “It can be funny and grounding at the same time,” Witzke said. “If I say to Phil, ‘Hey, I tasted a coffee in this type of vessel at a café the other day and it tasted really good,’ he’ll say, ‘Well, did you do a double-blind taste?’”

A few years ago, Witzke married his two passions with the website Cup of Velo. He wrote about coffee, cycling, nutrition and some training. He focused on the site for a year. Then, he hit a plateau with his content. The site is currently “under construction.” Witzke still wants to cover coffee and cycling online, but he’s wondering about the right medium, whether it’s a podcast, video or simply social media.

He continues to ride. He goes by bike to keep up with his accounts, covering 20 to 30 km a day commuting. For road rides, he often goes out, quite appropriately, with the Musette Caffè riders. He does the odd crit, but for the skinny rider, climbing is his strength. Events that have a lot of elevation gain are what he likes. It seems the insanity he found on the roads of northern Italy isn’t so crazy anymore.

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Witzke said his #GameChangerDinner recipe is the culmination of a bunch of really healthy things that work in one dish. “There’s the vascular dilation of the beets, the omegas and healthy fats of sardines and more,” he said. “You can cater it to your needs. If you had a race or rode really hard, increase the turmeric, black pepper and ginger because those are effective for speeding up recovery. If you have a big ride the next day, then increase the amount of sardines and beets.”

“And, the dish just tastes so, so good.”


⅔ cup brown rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp miso or natto
1 cup, black beans (pre-cooked or canned)
1 ½ cups red beets, sliced
½ tsp Himalayan or Aztec salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ cup walnuts, crushed
1 cup kimchi
1 can sardines (approx. 120 g)
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil


1. In a large sauce pot, add rice and water. For the water, add slightly more than two parts water for one part of rice. In this case, add a bit more than 1 ⅓ cups of water.

2. Bring water to a boil, and then cover and turn to medium heat. Cook rice for 7–10 minutes.

3. After the rice has cooked for 7–10 minutes, add garlic, onion, miso or natto, beans, beets, salt, pepper, spices, crushed walnuts and kimchi.

4. Remove pot from heat.

5. Add sardines and oil. (Adding these ingredients last allows for minimal nutrient loss/oxidation, to which sardines and oil are susceptible.)

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Serves 2

Nutritional Information

For one serving
Calories 547
Carbs 74 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Fibre 8.1 g
Protein 23.7 g

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