December 17, 2018
Floyd Landis’ life experiences have run the gamut. Raised in a religious Mennonite community that shunned many of the conveniences of modern society, he then went on to reach one of the pinnacles of sport in the modern society, by crossing the finishline first at the 2006 Tour de France. Then it all came crashing down due to his doping conviction, and Floyd was not only stripped of his accolades, but he could not do the one thing he really wanted, race his bike. His problems then were compounded by his lies and deceit regarding his doping, before Floyd decided to reverse course and tell the truth, which helped bring about the downfall of Lance Armstrong, but brought about a new set of issues for Floyd. There were many high points, and many low points (apart from the doping conviction, Floyd turned heavily to booze and had an opioid addiction, got a divorce and more). Floyd eventually emerged on a new path, as a father, and businessman with his own company, Floyd’s of Leadville, which has marijuana dispensaries in Colorado and Oregon, and makes CBD (cannabidiol) products which he thinks can be beneficial to athletes.
We figured there was a lot to learn from Floyd’s life experiences and were right.
In Part 1 of the recap of our hour and forty minute talk with Floyd (The Big Chat With Floyd Landis, Part 1: Is There Any Hope For Anti-Doping? Floyd Talks Doping Then, Now And What Can Be Done), we highlighted everything Floyd said about doping in sport and how easily he thinks it is to dope today (pretty easy). You can read part 1 here.
Today, in Part II, we highlight Floyd’s thoughts on life after competitive sport, living life after a big setback (even one that is self imposed), his thoughts on runners vs cyclists, doping in running, and hear what Floyd has to say about running his new business and how he thinks runners could possibly benefit from CBD products.
You can read a full transcript of our talk with Floyd here or listen as a podcast in iTunes, SoundCloud, or Stitcher.
Part II Highlights
1. As much as humans may pretend otherwise, they care what people think about them* unless you’re possibly Donald Trump
Early on in our talk with Floyd, when we were talking about people calling him a “disgraced cyclist” or a “doper”, it became apparent that Floyd cares what people think about him, and he wants to show he’s not a bad guy. He said, “It’s not like I’m the devil here. I didn’t set out to do this in the first place. I got caught up in it and yeah I made bad decisions. I wasn’t out there to hurt anybody in the first place. That just never was the case” and “I struggle to know what else I could possibly do to demonstrate that this was not malicious. That this was not me thinking I deserved more than everyone else. I’d like to close that chapter with something positive and just be Floyd Landis but maybe that’s never going to happen.”
When LRC’s Weldon Johnson asked Floyd why he cares what people think about him, he said, “Man, look, I think the only person in life who genuinely doesn’t care at all, what anyone thinks about him is Donald Trump. I’ve never met anyone that actually doesn’t care.”
Weldon put it out there that Donald Trump actually cares a lot what people think about him, and is super insecure. Regardless of one’s thoughts on Donald Trump’s psyche, Floyd gave his own experiences on why it is human to care, “And I tried for the longest time to really not care, to stop caring and I know logically it really doesn’t matter. But we’re all… This is going to sound dumb, but we’re all kind of in this [together], on this planet together and sort of connected one way or another, we interact with each other, so it matters what people think.
And yeah you can stop caring but then…. I don’t want to just become an asshole cause where do you stop it? If you just stop caring what people think then there’s really nothing prohibiting you from for doing whatever you want which is also bad,” he said.
“As much as I try not to care, people care. You have to care, ” he said.
2. The truth can set you free
If it’s human to care about what people say about you, then Floyd often is in a tough spot, because a lot of people say nasty things about him on the internet, and the anonymity and ease of making comments on the internet doesn’t help. As Floyd noted, “People can be mean on the internet.”
Floyd realizes people often don’t really mean what they type on the internet or wouldn’t say it to your face. However, he’s found the best thing to help him cope is just to embrace the truth.
“I’ve kind of convinced myself that whatever people are going to believe about me now, at least they have the whole story and they can believe it and if they don’t like me, they’re not going to like me. I’m not going to sit here and try to convince them to like me, but I don’t mind speaking just matter of factly about what happened, then maybe there’s something to be learned from it,but it’s taken a long time, man, I’m telling you [to get to this point].” he said.
3. Kids can give us perspective
One major change in Floyd’s life the last four years is he now is a father and his daughter can help put him in a better spot. “I have a daughter and she’s four years old now, and that’s something positive to focus on, and I love it. I was lucky, I’m at the right point of my life where I have enough time to spend with her. Things are going well in my business and I can spend my time with her when I need to just see something positive, because she’s happy, right? Everything’s new to her. Her world is new and it’s fun,” he said.
4. It’s good to have a goal
All competitive athletes can relate to having a goal, and having goals outside of sport can make navigating the difficulties of life much easier.
“It just helps to just have a goal. Something you’re trying to get to. Because if you just let life, if you stop for a second and look around, then it gets overwhelming. There are so many fucked up things happening and it’s hard to find the– Then you start looking for a meaning. It doesn’t have to have a meaning but a goal. A goal for me at least. Having a goal. Okay, I going to get up, I’m going to go do that, and I’ll get distracted and maybe I’ll think about the past sometimes but at least I have something to focus on,” Floyd said.
5. Competitive sport is beautiful, somewhat addictive, and can be difficult to give up
A lot of LetsRunners can relate to loving being a super competitive athlete. There is a simplicity to it and it provides an easy goal (point #4) for each and every day. Giving that up can be difficult, “[Being a competitive athlete is] amazing and it consumes everything. It’s like you can be in your own little world and that kind of gets lost when you’re in the competing side of it. I think a lot of people have trouble when they stop competing because that extra risk and thrill that comes with it is gone but it takes a while. It also takes a while when that’s all you did. It’s weird but since I was 15 years old, till I was 31 when I won the Tour, that’s all I did. I rode so much that it took a couple of years of not riding until I could just ride for half an hour or an hour and get that feeling. Once you start doing it six hours a day, then you have to ride six hours a day to get that feeling, so it’s basically an addiction,” Floyd said.
Giving up competitive cycling was even harder for Floyd as he was banned from the sport and had all the negative associations with his doping case. “For me, it was a bit harder than even for most athletes. At some point, whether you’re a professional athlete or you’ve run or ride or do other things because you like it, you improve for a long time and at some point you age and then you start getting worse and I think at that point that’s when you start to find out why you liked it in the first place, right? At least that happened for me. There was a couple years where I just didn’t ride because I just didn’t want to be associated with it and I associated negative feelings with my bike, but now when I go ride again I feel good. Like if I want to go hard, I go hard up the hill and I get whatever feeling you get from it and it’s like a drug.”
Floyd rides for his own reasons now and had this to say about his own riding, “I’m not on Strava, put it that way. No Strava for me.”
Some might wonder why considering the history of doping in the sport, and the fact Floyd considers the top echelons of the sport to still be dirty (he said that even if just 10% of people are doping in the sport, it’s not the 10% at the back of the peloton), why he’d want to start a competitive cycling team (he’s using some of the money from the Lance Armstrong doping settlement to start a minor league cycling team). “Because I do like cycling and I want to be around it. It’s fun. It’s got funny personalities. If you don’t let it consume you, it’s high comedy,” he said. “There’s going to be kids like me that enjoy cycling and I think if somebody is there to help them see why they enjoy it for what it is rather than being obsessed with trying to win and get [to] the Tour de France. Also, give them some perspective that life is long and this is not the end all be all. They’ll probably make better decisions. Where I was just kind of learning as I went, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.”
Runners vs Cyclists and Floyd’s Thoughts on Doping in Running
At the beginning and end of our talk with Floyd we talked about runners vs cyclists. When we asked him somewhat jokingly who was more socially awkward runners or cyclists, instead Floyd saw the common bonds that unite endurance athletes.
“I’ve always attributed it to just being generally endurance athletes. I think they like to be in groups. They like to go and do things around people, but then when they try to interact with each other it’s the weirdest, most awkward thing. I don’t know, they’re strange. I like them. They generally tend to be educated and intelligent. It attracts a crowd of people that are entertaining, but for whatever reason they seem to be lacking in social skills. I guess that’s what makes it fun too if you just laugh at it,” he said.
Video of Floyd talking about runners vs cyclists
We tried to get Floyd to comment on how dirty he thought the sport of running is, but he didn’t want to give a guess on something he is not that knowledgeable about. However, when we were talking about doping in running in Kenya, he did say, “We used to laugh in the 2000s when I was on the Postal Service team. Everyone would defend them and say they’re Kenyans, they’re genetically different, [they’re clean]. They have all these things [that make them better runners]. [We were] Like, ‘Come on guys. There’s something else going on [besides genetics].”
Floyd on running his own business and what CBD products he thinks are best for runners
One thing that definitely helps keep Floyd grounded now and gives him some purpose is having his own company to run. “I think that has helped [in] keeping me sane. I think if I had to focus on and stayed in cycling and needed that, that would be a lot harder to let go of it,” he said.
Just like in cycling, he now has goals to accomplish. “The business is fun too. I like being part of a team and that’s kind of what a small business is, right. Everybody has their own rules, but they’re awesome. Everyone’s just trying to accomplish the same goal, because it’s small enough that everybody sees the same goal, right. You don’t just have big departments where I’m doing this and you’re doing that. It’s rewarding in that sense. It feels like I’m part of a group of people that has a purpose. It comes with its challenges and doesn’t always go well, but just having something to focus on and to try to move that ball forward is almost as rewarding as having a daughter,” he said.
While Floyd’s does operate marijuana dispensaries, the CBD (cannabidiol) business is a separate business and while CBD products may first get attention because of their close association to marijuana, (Floyd said hemp from which CBD is derived is cannabis that’s got less than 0.3 percent THC. Cannabis with over .3% THC is clasified as marijuana) Floyd does not approach the business with a stoner mindset.
“I enjoy marijuana once in a while, not everyday. I don’t feel like I get much done if I’m high, but I do like the dispensary side of it, but the CBD side is taking a lot of our time lately just because it’s done quite well and it’s meaningful. It really does help people,” he said.
In the videos below he touts some of the reported benefits of his products and says athletes use CBD products to help deal with pain instead of using anti-inflammatories, that some athletes also use it before workouts to help with focus, and others use them to help sleep better.
The CBD products of Floyd’s come in various forms (pills, gels, ointments, even recovery shakes) and with and without THC as “There’s still people that are concerned. ‘Oh, this is a marijuana product,’ or, ‘It’s a hemp product.’ They don’t understand what hemp is, it still got this hippie image. So we try to put it in things that people are used to taking any way, so they can see for themselves if they experience a benefit from it,” Floyd said.
The video below is when Floyd talks about the basics of CBD, THC products.