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Paul O'hara-Hoke

Name: Paul O'hara-Hoke

Age: 42

Occupation: Manage a software development group for a small company called IndustriOS Software Inc

Hometown: Acton, Ontario

Family: Married to Lori for 13 years now; she is the reason I’m able to be all I can be - enough said. I have 2 children Liam who is 10 and Emma who is 8.

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It’s all about the kids; about leading by example; about doing something meaningful with the time we have here.

Its been a long time since I began cycling, some 27+ years, and I still feel the thrill of being on the bike. For me it’s like a time warp to my childhood when I use to cycle all day to far off villages with my buddies and just show up at home in time for dinner.

I started down the road of “giving back” several years ago by participating in local MS Rides. At first it was a means to push my boundaries and after a few years, grew into a way of helping others while enjoying my childhood passion - cycling. 

In 2006 my close friends’ youngest daughter, Amelia, fell seriously ill with what would later be diagnosed as cancer of the brain stem. Amelia’s fight was bold and she became known to family and friends as Amazing Amelia. Amelia eventually lost her fight with cancer, though her battle somehow touched me in ways I will likely never truly understand [though am forever grateful for]. In small part it was the fact that Amelia was the same age as my daughter Emma. I cannot not imagine being the one hearing that my child had cancer, it was hard enough seeing it happen to friends. Being a passionate cyclist the logical place for me to reach out and give back was with Tour For Kids, a cycling based event that challenges you physically and more importantly allows you to connect with your community in a truly meaningful way. In 2007 I rode my first Tour For Kids as the solo member of Team Amazing Amelia. Eight hundred and fifty or so kilometers later I was sold on where my energies would go. 

In 2008 and 2009 we [Team Amazing Amelia] blossomed to 14 team members. Some of which have had their lives touched somehow by cancer, each and every one of them understands the need to help these children living with and beyond cancer. Throughout this journey, my wife Lori and my 2 children Liam and Emma have been there and been a part of all of this. You see I believe that to do great things, it takes the company of great people; both to inspire you and support you. 

Today my drive to help others has been indistinguishably fused with cycling. The two have become one. 

During the first Sears National Kids Cancer Ride in 2008 I began dreaming of the chance to ride across the country. For each rider it is a large undertaking and not entirely a physical one though that is undoubtedly part of the draw for me. There is the commitment to the endless hours of training and preparation. The fundraising where you reach out and engage your community. Underlying the whole journey is being an ambassador for these kids and being privileged to help; both in spreading the word and raising much needed funds. In 2010 that dream will become a reality; one that would not be possible without the support of my family, friends and sponsors.

These days you can regularly find me somewhere out on one of the local roads near my home; day or night. I’m an atypical looking cyclist so its hard to miss me; my years of power lifting and body building as a youngster make me a wide profile when pulling in the front - I may work a little harder but those in my slipstream can’t complain much.

I train all year round so for me there really is not complete off season. Though in the winter months my outdoor rides diminish to days where the roads are not totally snowed and iced in. As we get into the fall and winter months my weeknight training has switched over to nighttime training - you haven’t done it you have to give it a try as its a hoot, a little erie at times but a hoot nonetheless.

I use to train primarily solo but these days I’m typically out with my team mates [Amazing Amelia], a truly great bunch of people and I am better for knowing each and every one of them.

Insight into the guy

I like to do what I say and say as little as possible. I’m a dichotomy of quiet guy meets Robin Williams.

I think life is intense enough so I do everything I can to cut the B.S. and laugh as much as possible. Humor is my panacea for everything. Usually the humor is pointed at myself but when possible I like to take the mickey out of close buddies - its their loss for being my friend ;)

I work in the software industry and manage a software development group for a small company called IndustriOS Software Inc. Probably explains why I’m soooo damaged (on both my occupation and locale aspects). At least I’m “out” about it.