Catching Up With Kona's Ironman Triathletes
October is usually the busiest time of the year in Kona. Tens of thousands of elite triathletes, sponsors, families, volunteers, and spectators fill the hotels, restaurants, and cafés. The beaches and roads are bustling with qualifiers getting in those last-minute laps and establishing a level of comfort with the course. Kona, Hawaii offers a difficult yet highly rewarding canvas for the Ironman World Championship. The ocean is beautiful, warm, and full of colorful sea life. The roads are a constant pulse of uphill climbs and downhill sprints. The sights are almost enough to distract you from the superhuman effort of competing.
Kona Coffee & Tea has been fortunate to serve this passionate community for many years. Our café is ideally located right in the heart of Kailua-Kona and is the best place to watch the Ironman World Championship during race day. This year, the Ironman was canceled due to the pandemic, but that gave us extra time to talk story with some of our ohana and past triathletes as they reflect on the race. Read on to learn from Alika Ho’omana, Agnes Prehn, and Francisco “Cisco” Bresa as they share favorite places to watch the race, where they eat pre and post-race, and advice for future Ironman triathletes.
Kona Coffee & Tea - When did you compete in the Ironman World Championship?
Alika Ho’omana - I competed in and finished the Ironman World Championship in 2012. I have also competed in seven Ironman 70.3 in Kona.
Agnes Prehn - I competed in 2017.
Francisco “Cisco” Bresa - 2019 was my first full distance I’ve ever done and I was lucky enough to get in.
Kona Coffee & Tea - How is Kona unique for an Ironman race?
Cisco - I think for anyone it is a big accomplishment to just be here and be able to race in Kona. Personally, I love how this little town of Kailua-Kona gets together and supports this race. It is amazing and the volunteers make the Ironman World Championship worthwhile. Without them, I don’t think this race will be possible.
Alika - Our island is magical and our people make this place 100% unique!
Agnes - Kona is unique in every way and has great community support.
Kona Coffee & Tea - Where was/is your favorite restaurant to eat pre-race and post-race in Kona?
Alika - Honestly, my pre-race meal is laulau, poke, uala, and poi!
Agnes - I actually ate Domino's Pizza after the race, haha—that was the only place that was still open because I finished on the late side!
Cisco - My favorite pre-workout place to eat was at my house in the morning, but my post-workout meal and my recovery/talk story place is at Kona Coffee & Tea.
Kona Coffee & Tea - Where is your favorite place to watch Ironman in Kona?
Agnes - The pier for the start and then Kona Coffee & Tea after.
Alika - I like to watch the swim start from the pier and the bike portion from Kona Coffee & Tea. For the run portion, I like to cruise around to different viewpoints until the age group finishers start to cross the finish line. There is nothing like the last hour on the finish line trying to cheer for whoever is out there trying to make it across the finish line after a long, hot difficult day!
Cisco - My favorite place to watch the race is at the pier. It gives me chills every time.
Kona Coffee & Tea - If you had one piece of advice for those who were going to compete this year but are now waiting until next year, what would it be?
Agnes - Don't give up! Keep at it! Enjoy the additional training time!
Cisco - Just enjoy the course; you made it here. Race day is a big celebration day.
Alika - Another year to get better and improve in the areas you can use help in. Keep grinding and when you come to race Kona, it helps 100% to respect the land, people, and the culture. Train hard!