Tyler O’Hara loves just about anything with two wheels. He’s been riding motorcycles since he was five years old and racing them professionally since 2005. He’s no slouch on the push bike either, having completed the 100-mile route in Levi’s Gran Fondo in 2018.
Tyler started out with a motor, racing a Suzuki JR50 on the Lodi flat track alongside his dad and two older brothers, but despite this family support it wasn’t until 2011 that he won his first race. This victory came in a slightly more storied environment than Lodi–the Indianapolis motor speedway. His start wasn’t as glamorous as one would expect for a motorcycle hero “It had no heater/ac or radio it was a long ass drive. We were living on the road sleeping in the truck staying at different motorcycle dealerships on the way.” Since then, he’s gone on to a pro career that allows him to sleep in real beds and even buy a vehicle with air conditioning! What hasn’t changed is his desire to win, his 13 years on the pro scene has been full of wins and podiums in events like Supermoto, Harley Davidson racing and AFM road racing.
It’s not just the winning that keeps O’Hara coming back, it’s also the process that leads to those wins. “I love cycling, hitting the gym and eating healthy it makes my mind and body feel good and gives me direction.” As a dad, he finds that the hard work he puts in off the track is something he can use to teach his kids. “Now that I’m a father of two boys being a good role model is my top priority. Teaching them to chase your dreams, work hard and believe that anything is possible. Never be afraid to fail.”
It hasn’t been all podiums and push ups for Tyler though. In 2015 after the season he suffered a horrific crash and broke his pelvis. “I went into turn 14 at Thunderhill raceway and warped my front brake rotors and, as I exited the corner, I basically crashed going in a straight line. I was ok until another rider ran me over at over 100 mph. My adrenaline was going and I tried getting up to get off the track. I felt like I had the worst dead leg ever and as I tried to get up, kept fainting and had to lay down. The medics cut off my leathers and called in the helicopter, I was airlifted to the Enlo hospital in Chico, California.”
In the weeks after the crash, O’Hara quickly moved from opiates to CBD. He says that “I chose not to use opioids for a few different reasons. They’re super addictive and I’ve seen first hand great athletes and friends ruin their careers from opioid addiction.” Instead he opted to use natural CBD daily and says he could feel his body healing without the confusion and altered perception that comes from opiate pain meds. “My recovery was still painful at times for sure, that’s how I know I could feel my body was healing. The cooling recovery balm with lots of ice was my secret weapon. Call me a hippie or whatever but I’m not addicted to opioids and I’m still racing professional!”
Today, O’Hara uses CBD to keep the aches and pains from over a decade of 100mph scrapes at bay. He loves the longevity this recovery has given to his career and doesn’t see himself throwing in the towel any time soon. “The feeling I miss the most when I don’t ride my motorcycle is the thrill of the speed when I’m flowing and riding perfect hitting my lines perfect exactly on point, sliding the rear tire on the edge of crashing, at over 100mph lap after lap. Motorcycle racers live more in one lap then some people live in a lifetime”. With an attitude like that, and a healthy approach to recovery, we hope O’Hara has many more lifetimes to come on two wheels, with and without a motor.
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