PHOTO ABOVE: Mike Brown, courtesy of Francisco Besa.
2019 marks the first year Kona Coffee & Tea has sponsored a sole athlete competing in the IRONMAN® World Championship. We feed him our peanut butter/banana with chia seeds on a bagel and he drinks a Kona Bullet (our version of Bulletproof coffee made with our Award-winning, 100% Kona coffee).
Let’s meet our very own Ironman qualifier, Francisco “Cisco” Besa. Cisco was born and raised in Kona, Hawaii.
As an employee of the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel (host hotel for the IRONMAN® World Championship) for many years, he and his coworkers are the team that set up for the Ironman events held at the hotel. And after seeing all the participants from the various age groups, Cisco thought, “Hey, if that 84-year-old man can do this, I can too!”.
A triathlon consists of swimming, biking and running. But up until three and a half years ago, Cisco didn’t know how to swim. His main means of exercise was going to the gym. For Cisco, the gym wasn’t enough as there were no “end results”. So, he got himself involved in a master’s swimming program in the mornings where he learned to swim.
When he started training to do Lavaman two years ago, he was training on a mountain bike that he purchased from Walmart. Between learning to swim and racing on a mountain bike, he was “training for the biggest race of my life”, said Cisco.
Once he started really getting serious about his training, he changed his whole diet where he switched from red meat to fish – primarily salmon (he claims the red meat made him too lethargic) – and has dropped 45 pounds. He qualified for this year’s IRONMAN® World Championship by participating in the HONU on Hawaii island which is a qualifier for this race.
And with some help from Vern at Bike Works, Cisco found himself riding a REAL bike designed for triathlon. His choice is a Cervélo P2. He wears Oakley helmet & glasses, Hoka shoes, and has a Castelli Tri Suit for his swim, bike and run. This suit will proudly carry the Kona Coffee & Tea logo from start to finish...2.4-mile swim, 112-bike, and the 26.2-mile run.
When asked what Kona Coffee & Tea brings to him, he replied, “Oh Man! Besides the great food and drinks at Kona Coffee & Tea, I’m always excited to finish my training or race or workout because I’m going to see my friends there! I work at the Hotel – The King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel. I always tell the hotel guests to come here because as tourists, they never know where the good places are to go. And then I see them here. And I’m like, ‘Hey! Good to see you!’ You can sit outside and talk story or plan your day out on the lanai at Kona Coffee & Tea. Good people...the staff, locals, and visitors there. Yeah, you’ll see your friends, and probably meet new friends there, too!” Cisco’s go-to drink is the cold brew straight up.
His parents, who also live in Kona, are very proud of what their son has accomplished through his hard work and commitment to triathlon. Being of Filipino descent, he aspires to partake in an IRONMAN® in the Philippines.
The IRONMAN® World Championship will take place on Saturday, October 12, 2019. Since the ‘80s this race has been the ultimate test of mental and physical strength. Competitors swim 2.4 miles (3.86 km) in Kailua Bay, bike a 112 miles (180.25 km) across the lava desert to Hāwī and back, then run a marathon (26 miles 385 yards, 42.195 km) along the coast from Kailua-Kona to Keahole Point and back to Kailua-Kona. We’ll be cheering Cisco on as he embarks on the 140.6-mile journey to earn the title of IRONMAN®.
CONTRIBUTOR: KELLY DRYSDALE
COFFEE OR TEA: Tea
SWIM, BIKE, OR RUN: Definitely NOT bike...It hurts my okole! I would have to say, "run" as I do quite a bit of that on the tennis courts.
I came to Kona Coffee & Tea having worn a multitude of hats throughout my career. Now I'm the Director of Logistics for Kona Coffee & Tea.
I spent 15 years in Sports Television, coming into contact with many well-known names but none that left the lasting impression as that of Howard Cosell. Cosell, an attorney turned sports commentator, was also an English major and a grammatical genius. It was from this highly intelligent man that my love of words came to be.
Now I'm known as the "Wordsmith" for Kona Coffee & Tea, editing whatever comes across my desk as well as the day to day planning of events and representing this Awesome, Family-owned and operated operation.