Hello all! My name is John Klish and welcome to my page! I hope you’ll enjoy reading my experiences and posts as much I enjoyed creating them for you.
I was born with a bi-lateral hearing loss, in other words, I was born deaf. Thanks to the support of family and friends, I pursued greater dreams than doctors had in mind for me at the time. I studied at Colorado School of Mines for three semesters, then transferred to Colorado State University for the opportunity to participate in bicycle racing. I graduated from Colorado State University, with a Mechanical Engineering degree while racing on their bicycling team. Immediately after graduating from college in May 2005, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, so I had to put both my career search and bicycle racing career on hold. Following surgeries and chemotherapy, I was reported to be in remission April 2006, I resumed training and racing.
I competed mountain biking in the expert level that summer and quickly moved up to the Semi-Pro level. Later that fall, I landed a job as a Roadway Engineer with Colorado Department of Transportation where I currently work. It took me a while to figure out a balance between racing and working full time. I picked up triathlons in 2010, as a means to mix up the training. I am one of these people cannot stick to one sport day after day. Then I suffered depression starting late summer 2011 and finally started feeling better a year later. I am still on medication, but I have learned a lot from being in the deep end. Family and friends are an important part to living as they are an extension of who you are. You surround yourself with people you want to be with and admire. I continued participating throughout that period as it was the only thing I could do to keep my mind sane. I got my job back and my mind has matured from the experience. The sport competitions list continues to grow since every sport has their own lessons and levels of excitement.
While I’m not racing, I also work a full time job, train an average of 15 hours a week, and maintain a fun and healthy relationship with my girlfriend while keeping my dog alive! In addition to swimming, mountain biking, and trail running, I also enjoy camping, rollerblading, skate skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, downhill skiing, telemark skiing, backcountry skiing, cyclocross biking, road biking, BMX, rafting, kayaking, hiking, climbing fourtneers, mountaineering, orienteering, hockey, ice skating, rock climbing, skateboarding, water skiing, wake boarding, soccer, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, basketball, cooking, knitting, reading, movie times, and teaching others how to enjoy all the activities I just listed. I would love to try out surfing, wind surfing, zip-lining, kite boarding/skiing, and many other sports. The list will continue to add on as life continues to unfold. With all the activities I have going, I rarely watch sports since they make me too energized to keep sitting.
I recently started up a non-profit organization called DEAFlete (www.deaflete.org), oriented to inspiring deaf athletes to participate in events that are dominated by hearing athletes and bridging the gap between the hearing world and deaf world through sports. It’s slow going right now, but I hope to develop it into a program where deaf and hearing athletes/coordinators can come for guidance and help.
I think it’s important to be a good role model for the public to let them know they can accomplish anything in life and reassure them to be kind to ourselves. We all are humans and we all have our own struggles, but we’re not alone. We choose whether we get back up by seeking help or not. It is ok to be open about our struggles today. Key motto I keep in mind everyday is “Be kind to yourself” to help me not be so hard on myself and continue being productive. AND do one little thing at a time when you start getting overwhelmed… sometimes you need to back off, take a breather, re-think your priorities and apply small steps again. Before you know it, you’re rolling again!
Now, go read the blogs, get excited about an activity, and then do me a favor… Carpe Diem!