LetsRun.com’s Big Chat Podcast with Floyd Landis: Full Audio and Transcript
December 14, 2018
Below is the full audio and full transcript of our talk with Floyd Landis, the man who crossed the finish line first at the 2006 Tour de France only to be busted for doping four days later, protest his innocence for four years by writing a book and raising nearly a half a million dollars for his defense, reverse course, admit he was doping and help bring about the doping conviction of Lance Armstrong.
Floyd had some dark days along the way but now seems to be in a much better place, becoming a father and the CEO of his own company, Floyd’s of Leadville, which sells CBD products. [Full disclosure: Our talk with Floyd came about when Floyd’s of Leadville first approached LetsRun about possibly advertising on the site. We wanted to get this out before talking further with them about that]. We figured Floyd would have interesting things to say on anti-doping and doping in sport and what can be done about it, and we were correct.
If you want the highlights of what Floyd had to say, we have a summary here in two parts, but if you want to listen to the whole talk for an hour and 40 minutes, it is below with a transcript and a guide. Also available as a podcast in iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher.
Also if you just want to listen to parts of it, you can do that as well.
Click on a red number to go to that part of the transcript. Click on a blue number to listen to just that part of the audio.
Guide to Transcript
Click on a red number to go to that part of the transcript. Click on a blue number to listen to just that part of the audio. To stop the audio, you have to come back up to the player and hit pause or mute your device.
Part I: Doping & Problems with Current Anti-Doping Approach
5:30 [5:30] “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.”
9:50 [9:50] On East African doping in ’90s, Donald Trump, and why he cares what people think about him
13:48 [13:48] “More to this story than just a bunch of dudes on bikes taking drugs”
16:30 [16:30] What Floyd was taking during the tour + claim he wasn’t taking testosterone + claim WADA covered up drug tests at Salt Lake Olympics
22:45 [22:45] Current anti-doping system isn’t being honest on scope of problem, what we should be doing to improve it
36:30 [36:30] You can dope on the Tour now, there are “countless” ways to dope and not get caught even with biological passport
41:30 [41:30] Give amnesty to get cheats to come clean, what would happen if Bolt tested positive?
52:41 [52:41] No chance for clean sport with current approach, what can be done and should we call convicted dopers drug cheats?
Part II: Athletes Finding Purpose after Competitive Years
65:11 [65:11] The difficulty to transition to life post-competition, the beauty of just being an athlete, the joy of children, and no we shouldn’t give up on anti-doping
Part III: Floyd’s of Leadville, CBD Products, and Running a Business
82:34 [82:34] Floyd has a new purpose when he wakes up every day and that is his new business which makes CBD products to help athletes recover better and people live better + sells weed.
Floyd Landis Transcript
Part I: Doping & Problems with Current Anti-Doping Approach
Wejo is LetsRun.com co-founder Weldon Johnson. Weldon was a wannabe Olympian who twice finished fourth in the United States in the 10,000m.
Wejo: Alright everyone I’m excited to be joined by Floyd Landis. We were just talking [about] who’s more socially awkward runners or cyclists. We’ll get to that in a minute, but Floyd I think you need a brief introduction. You know it’s a running audience we’ve got here. You grew up in a Mennonite Community and left that behind to race bicycling professionally. Interrupt me if I’m getting any of this wrong. You were the official winner of the 2006 Tour de France for 4 days.
Floyd: [laugh] Temporarily
Wejo: And then you went and mounted that huge defense, raised half a million dollars, crowdfunded, wrote a book, what’s was the book title again?
Floyd: Positively False. Not my finest moment.
Wejo: You had a lot of people defending you essentially. I think you still think the system is flawed in terms of WADA and prosecution and we can get to that. Then in 2010, you totally reversed course and said ‘yeah they’re right I was doping and so was everyone else doping.’ And I think without you [in terms of] Lance Armstrong people would still believe the (pause) fairy tale maybe?
Floyd: They liked it. It was a good story right?
I’m a little bit conflicted on that as well because he did inspire a lot of people. I also stick to this day that he doesn’t quite grasp that a lot of the treatment he got afterwards was more a matter of the way he treat other people than it was about the doping.
And also I don’t wish any harm on the guy. I hope he recovers and goes on with his life.
But the whole thing was complicated for me because I knew that he did inspire a lot of people and I also didn’t want to undercut that because it was meaningful to those people right? But we can talk about that when we get to it.
Wejo: We used to get, the nastiest emails we ever got on LetsRun were if we even let people say they thought Lance was dirty. They would say ‘How dare you. such and such’. It was crazy.
Floyd: I saw it too. They were directed straight at me.
Wejo: It was like a religion of sorts.
Floyd: Well, no one wants to feel like they’ve been duped. They respond aggressively because they bought into it. It’s not their fault. To some extent it was reality right? It inspired them or gave them hope and that’s worth something.
Wejo: Yeah. I loved watching the Tour then.
Floyd: It was awesome wasn’t it?
Wejo: Yeah it was great. I watched your year and I wonder if I’ve watched since. I’m not sure if you’re solely responsible.
Floyd: Whatever I’ll take the blame.
Wejo: Some of this stuff I was reading about. Was it stage 17 [of the 2016 Tour], I don’t know all the cycling stuff, of the Tour. I’m pretty sure I watched that. That’s nuts. It sounds like the greatest cycling one day run ever or maybe one of them.
Floyd: It was something.
Wejo: But let me continued with your intro here.
So you reverse course. Essentially, I feel like you made it possible for USADA to bring down Lance and a lot of other people. Then there was the lawsuit against Lance. You recently settled that. You got a million dollars and are donating that back to the cycling team.
Even that [settlement] I’m shocked with people’s reactions [to it]. I told some LetsRun people I was talking to you. This was our Monday call yesterday and he was like “I hate that guy more than Lance”. And I was like what? He’s [Floyd’s] ot even a runner. Usually [that reaction] it’s for running.
He was like, ‘He’s [Floyd] profiting from this.’ Which isn’t the case.
I think the money is going to the thing [cycling team], being paid back. We can get to that. It’s crazy how people, I don’t know [how to say it], they put so much into other people.
Floyd: They are emotionally invested in it. It’s across the board in sports. It’s funny, sports get treated with a different sort of lens than the rest of life, right? People respect and treat their sports heroes or their sports team in ways that are beyond rational.
Wejo: I was talking to my aunt and she was like “I love the Dallas Cowboys” and I was like “What?” and she goes, “It’s my 3 hour escape [from reality].” But then I think they want it to be pure and innocent.
Floyd: Yeah, yeah. It’s fascinating.
Wejo: We’ll all debate how much [that is the case]. It’s also the one time as fans people can solely devote themselves to something, but it’s kind of of inconsequential right? Who’s going to win the game or not.
Floyd: I was feeling it [the game], but then it’s over.
Wejo: And then you go back to the real world or whatever you want to call it. But it’s an escape.
And then at some point I feel like you went in a really dark period, drinking a lot, opioids. Was that before 2010 or after mainly?
Floyd: Yeah it was probably both. It got pretty bad after 2008. I went though a couple of years where I was defending myself and I know it’s hard for people to put themselves in that situation and for me trying to justify it isn’t quite fair either. But I really wanted to race my bike again and I saw how cycling treats people that tell the truth. You just don’t come back and so it was the wrong decision but at the time, you don’t have a long career in any sport if you’re an athlete, if you’re a professional athlete right? And I had a few years left. I was of the right age I could have raced and I wanted to fight for that and yeah in hindsight there was probably a better path.
Wejo: You mean the denial?
Floyd: Of course. And people people have their opinions about what they would have done and the best I can do is just try to say here were the circumstances and here’s why I did it and you don’t have to agree you would have done it. But at least don’t take it too far. 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.
Wejo: We can get into that because it’s amazing. I’ve debated what to call you. Let me finish your story here. I feel like now you’re in a much better place. You’re in a great relationship, you have a 4 year old daughter, you started this company Floyd’s of Leadville, there’s a marijuana dispensary in Colorado and then you make CBD products. Which sounds like my audience is going to love cause you can help people recover better, feel better, run pain free, I mean who doesn’t want that. People would criticize you for taking something, but if they can take something that is so called ‘legal’ and perform better, we’re all on it.
Floyd: Yeah. Everybody after you turn about 40 years old. I don’t know how old you are. I’m 43 now.
Floyd: You don’t sleep as well. It’s a slow change but you notice it over time and this stuff we make from hemp helps to mitigate some of that and it’s a good replacement for Advil and Tylenol and things like that that people take on a regular basis. These things are probably not harmful when used once in a while, but I think anything used excessively is probably bad. So we provide an alternative and hope people try it out.
Wejo: When I first heard of the products, we’ve got a box sitting right here and I haven’t tried any, but I was like ‘oh if this stuff can help me’ of course I would take it. [On this podcast] I want to talk about doping, living the better life, and Floyd’s [of Leadville] at the end. But starting with doping.
Floyd: Paul Kimmage. [banter back and forth with some laughter]. He’s the guy everybody hates in cycling.
Wejo: We (the running world) love him.
Floyd: I love him too, he’s great. He’s great. The way he writes he’s so aggressive. He’s just over the top. Cycling, cycling hates him, but [inaudible].
Wejo: I was reading something and it said essentially you hate being called disgraced cyclist, or drug cheat and we’re sort of famous on LetsRun for calling people drug cheats. Drug cheat this, drug cheat that. And some of that maybe want it to be a deterrent, but what should we call you? You have done a lot [for clean sport]. We can debate/talk in a minute whether if we’ll ever get to clean sport. I still feel it’s a worthwhile cause. I feel if we’re not going to go there we should just give up, but whether we’re going to get there [is another matter], but one way we get there is we have an honest look at the past and where we are at.
People like you, you made a decision. I feel like you probably would regret it. Although I don’t know [if that’s the case]. I saw something that said you would if you could do it differently you would win the Tour and then confess, like you liked winning the Tour [even though you were doping]. Is that still the case?
Floyd: [laughing] I remember saying that and I know what I meant, but I think it came out wrong. I think it sounded like I was perfectly fine with cheating and that isn’t quite right, but I really don’t have a way of expressing what that environment was like. And living it. I don’t know about running I’ve never been in the running community but in cycling because some of the races are so long and you race so many days in a given year. It kind of consumes your whole life because you live in a little bubble. Again it’s not an excuse but you kind of get detached from reality and whatever those people are doing that’s your reality. That’s your world.
So I didn’t quite mean it like that. I guess the problem was when I was trying to answer the question was if you say ‘ Ok what you would do different?’ If you keep going back a step, at some point how far back do I go?
Wejo: Yeah I’m sure at some point they sat you down and said ‘here’s what you need to do [in terms of doping]”
Floyd: Yeah exactly. I guess I’d go back before that then if I had known that in hindsight. Now with that I know I probably would have just not tried to be a professional bicycle racer in the first place, but I didn’t know until I was there in the middle of it and then the decision was a tough one.
Wejo: I think the difference between cycling and running and I don’t know if this is fair or really the case but cycling is a team thing and listening to you, listening to Lance, I feel like you guys feel like everybody was doing it [doping] or maybe at least 90 percent, 95 percent.
Floyd: Enough that it mattered.
Wejo: So [the question became] do you want to win or not? Where as with running it’s so individual. I never thought I had to dope [when I competed in the early 2000s]. I was like ‘all these people are doping’, but they were so much better [than me], and not everyone [is doping] and I also I feel like we have [these Kenyans who are different]. And now [currently] there is doping in Kenya and East Africa, but it used to be like ‘Oh those [East African] guys. They’re skinnier than me, they look different than me. They can be doing it clean.”
Floyd: 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 have all these things [that make them better runners]. [We were] Like, ‘Come on guys. There’s something else going on [besides genetics].’
Wejo: I don’t want to think about some of my heroes in the late 90s.
Floyd: Whatever. It is what it is.
Wejo: Yeah I mean if I had to go back now and bet my life on a lot of those guys [whether they were clean or dirty]. I used to do that test with Lance and I was like ‘[He’s one] hundred percent dirty’. But some of these other guys, for the runners I still want to believe (they’re clean).
Wejo: Maybe it’s crazy. So we should just call you before Floyd Landis, human being?.
Floyd: I don’t know I just want to be Floyd Landis again at some point but I did use drugs and I did cheat so it’s not that that pejorative isn’t deserved, but I don’t know how long. I mean how long do I have to pay for it? What do I have to do [to be called something else]. Some of these people they say I hate that guy basically no matter what. So if there is no redemption, then there is no redemption.
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. Who knows.
Wejo: We can talk about some of this [when we talk about it] in [the section about] the good life, but why do you care what they think about you? I think to be happy in life we should spend our time worrying about what we control and we can’t control what other people think about us right?
Floyd: 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 .
Wejo: But he does care right? He so insecure he has to care.
Floyd: Maybe he does but he sure acts like he doesn’t. 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 you just mean 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.
Which is what we have [in] Donald Trump. Which is at least my theory [of him]. Yours is the opposite. You might be right. Who knows.
As much as I try not to care, people care. You have to care.
Wejo: I think it’s easy [for] people [to call others] ‘Drug cheat.’ Then you’re a bad person, a terrible human being, or whatever and we’re all more complicated [than that]. We’re all sinners. I don’t know what you’re religious views are these days.
Floyd: They’ve evolved over time away from where I started.
Wejo: We can get to that. I can tell clearly you’re not a Mennonite anymore. Higher beings or good and evil or whatever…. Wait I got sidetracked on religion. Never discuss religion or politics and we’re right on board with both.
Floyd: Just do both right up front.
Wejo: I was totally lost where was I?
Floyd: On what I was being called or what people think of me.
Wejo: Oh yeah like I think we all want to be good people. Just because you doped doesn’t mean [you’re a bad person], you did what you did, you can’t undo any of that. So how do you make the best going forward?
Floyd: That’s all I’m trying to do. It’s gotten easier because there’s less people who just want to ridicule [me] and more people that would actually like to understand. What happened I think, …[the] case with me in 2006 happened relatively early in the existence of WADA. WADA only existed for 2 years at that point. And they were given the complete benefit of the doubt that everything they said was true. They just kept yelling science. And no matter what anyone said they listened WADA. They have science on their side, but it turns out they don’t have any science at all.
There was some real you know exposure of what they actually represent which is a lot more political than independent like they claim. So I think some time has passed and people are starting to say okay, maybe there’s more to this story than just a bunch of dudes on bikes taking drugs and these other guys trying to fix it.
Wejo: I didn’t want to spend a ton of time rehashing the past but certain stuff about the case kept coming up. And [for example] you admit to doping but you’re sort of angry that some of the stuff WADA did and I saw some stuff that you were sort of angry that Lance didn’t fight them more and I was just like, ‘Woa. What’s going on here?’
With WADA itself, we here at LetsRun[.com] in 2016 were [saying] Craig Reedie, the head of WADA, he’s got to go [be fired]. With the Russian stuff it’s crazy.’
Floyd: But how in the first place could he ever be the President of WADA and a Board Member of the IOC. [That’s a conflict of interest]. You
can you can announce that you’re independent all day long but you cannot get past that. That will never work.
Maybe it’s a problem just across the board anyway because most of their funding or at least half of their funding comes from the IOC, so they’re beholding to them to begin with. It’s a pretty deep problem and I still have some animosity towards, towards USADA because I believe that their system [pauses] Okay, fine, probably most of the people they prosecute are guilty but in a scenario where they have an innocent athlete that they decided to charge and it becomes public and that person is basically publicly humiliated at that point. The gig is up. I mean there’s no clearing yourself.
Wejo: Now a few people have gotten off on some stuff. And I’ve seen some stuff and maybe I should be better than this because a lot of them I think are dirty. So I’m like, oh, ‘you’re dirty.’ They got them on something else [but who really cares]. Like Ben Johnson [says he was busted for drug he says he wasn’t taking]. But then I’m like, wait, no, for the system to work, it needs to be fair. It needs to be just. And I feel like there’s some procedural stuff [we need to discuss] we can get to that in a second. But with the Tour [de France], you were busted for testosterone, right? [But you said] You didn’t use testosterone during the Tour? or the test was wrong? Help me out because I saw something, where you said the test was wrong when you got busted.
Floyd No, I was not using testosterone during the Tour. I used a bunch of other things. I used EPO and growth hormone and blood transfusions. So this is why it’s complicated to try to say [there are problems with the system]. [But] look, you should also, okay, fine, take me out [of the discussion]. I’m done. I’ll never race again and my Tour is gone. But you also have a system that simply cannot distinguish between whether someone doped or not. And you’re using that to selectively prosecute people because now we know that Don Catlin, he’s admitted in the New York Times to covering up positive EPO tests from Salt Lake City. There’s an article where he says, yeah, I called the head of the IOC and we decided it was going to cause too much damage so we just made them [the positive tests] go away.
Floyd: That’s in the New York Times.
Wejo: I want to keep my blinders on.
Floyd: And he was never punished. So how can you say that we have this standard that we hold the athletes to where on the other side, they can just do whatever the hell they want, but that’s not gonna work because then the athletes, they’re not stupid. They might be powerless, but they know [what’s going on].
Wejo: I think some of your outlook on this at least at the time [was] you [we]’re in a sport, [where] you think [at] most 90 percent of people are dirty as your level.
Floyd: I mean that’s, that’s what cycling has been, from day one. That’s just what it is.
Wejo: Well Greg Lemond says he was clean.
Floyd: Okay. Fine Whatever. But, but he’s the only guy ever.
Wejo: [The] Last 25 years [you think everyone is dirty so], I think your thinking is ‘if I’m doing it, why am I getting singled out for [doping]’, . Also I wonder [about] your upbringing, like you function in this Mennonite [community] that made their own rules. Now there’s a bigger community [that] made its own rules. Cycling has their own rules. And if everyone is cheating, [you’re thinking] why am I being singled out. My question is [my thought is] it does matter what you got convicted for. If you are not using testosterone and they busted you for testosterone, that means they could do that to anybody, right? Do you think the test was wrong? If I had Travis Tygart [the head of USADA] here, what would he say? He would say you used testosterone? You have no reason to lie to me now.
Floyd: That’s what he would say. But at the end of the day, and again it was mass hysteria when they did it because it was the biggest doping case ever probably because it obviously indirectly involved Lance Armstrong because he just won his sixth Tour. It wasn’t directly to him, but it was part of the story, right? I was a previous teammate of his and nobody really paid attention to the actual arbitration rules of discovery. In fact the documents themselves, this is how, how confusing and complicated the whole thing became. The French lab said, okay, look, this is the positivity criteria that we have.
Let’s [go back and] start from the beginning. WADA claims to have been set up to homogenize all of the international labs, right? The labs are supposed to all follow the same rules and police their own country and make things fair in that local way.
So the French lab says, okay, this is a positive test based on this threshold, these metabolites and this carbon 12, carbon 13 ratio [mean it’s a positive test]. It’s more complex than we need to get into. But in the United States, in Don Catlin’s lab that did not meet the positivity criteria, so it would be called a negative test in the United States. That we know, they admitted to that.
Floyd: Yeah, 100 percent.
Wejo: Oh my gosh. Then you’ve got the Russian lab [shown to be doping athletes].
Floyd: Well then their defense was when Don Catlin couldn’t defend it anymore, just threw his hands in the air and said, well, they’re all doing it. And this is a guy by the way, who helps cover up doping tests, admits to it. And when I asked Travis Tiger why he hasn’t been punished, Travis said he looked into it and couldn’t find any evidence. Let me ask you this, if an athlete admitted publicly to taking drugs, what more evidence would they go looking for? That is evidence. That’s a first person admission, right?
Wejo: He should be gone.
Floyd: He is part of the corruption. How can he then [be a part of the system]. This was during my case while he was testifying. So I have animosity towards these people for reasons that make sense if you’ve seen the whole thing as the big picture.
Wejo: So we shouldn’t get caught up in the weeds too much, but when they busted you was the test wrong? or what do you think what [happened]?. Could they detect your epo [testosterone] from four months ago? Probably not, right?
Floyd: Oh, they made a bunch of claims and I don’t know if they’ve changed the positivity criteria since then, but for [cross talk between Floyd and Weldon]. Let’s put it this way. For anyone out there that has a couple of working brain cells, their entire carbon isotype test was based on one study with 10 people and no control subjects. That’s what their basis for their entire test is, right? There was nothing else, so they’re basically just guessing at what the positivity criteria should be in the first place, but even if you accept the lab document package that I was provided at face value, it still wasn’t a positive test in the United States.
Wejo: Interesting. So let’s have they busted you for epo, would you not have been as angry?
Floyd: I would’ve had a bigger problem because if they had a genuine lab document package, that was impossible to defend then I would’ve had a much more difficult decision to make.
Wejo: I kind of see where you’re coming [from] now, finally.
Floyd: It’s fucked up.
Wejo: I heard this podcast with Cycling News and you [said], I can try and find the quote, but it was [something] like “I wish Lance had fought it more.” And I’m was thinking like, “One, you and Lance are not buddies. Two, you admit to doping, but you’re right if we’re going to have a clean system, a fair system, a system that actually catches cheats, it has to be fair. You can’t just make it up or it can’t be inaccurate or whatever [the case may be], right? But Lance was completely separate, right? All your evidence got him. So how could he fight?
Floyd: What needs to be fought, honestly [is].
Floyd: This part is something that I experienced and lived through and have been angry at it for 12 years. But I think a lot of people now, and it’s more widely reported, and this is a broader issue in general in society and powerful corporations or groups forcing people into arbitration rather than allowing them to go to a real court. And the reason that you do that is because number one, the people financing it have an advantage because they’re the ones that are repeat customers at the arbitration court. The athletes are never coming back. So there’s already a bias against the athlete because you need to keep these people paying you, your arbitrators that’s what you do for a job, right? They’re just lawyers. They get paid by the hour.
Wejo: They know ultimately where the money’s coming from.
Floyd: It’s beyond proven now that large corporations have a massive advantage over everybody that wants to arbitrate something. But the bigger problem here is they’re basically using arbitration as a criminal prosecution and the rules of discovery, they are not obligated to give you any information. I probably spent $500,000 in legal fees just trying to get the evidence that they claimed they had against me. They said we couldn’t have it. I mean, it’s not a fair system.
Wejo: So you wanted to ride your bike again, essentially? That’s why you fought?
Floyd: Yeat that’s what I wanted. That was the heart of it.
Wejo: But also the system got you for something, you’re still saying you didn’t do. But Ben Johnson, same thing. [He] says he didn’t [do] whatever they got him on. He may have been spiked or something, but it’s kind of crazy.
Floyd: Something’s not right there either because I think it’s widely accepted now that Carl Lewis was not exactly playing the game like everybody thought either, but at the end of the day, the conversation almost has to go to well what’s the solution then, right? And then, I guess I would say if you’re gonna try to police it then set up a system that’s at least fair and gives everybody that’s on drugs the same chance of being caught as, as all the other guys that are on drugs rather than just simply [making it random]. If you look at their statistics they have about a little more than a one percent false positive rate. That’s their expected false positive rate if you look at their actual statistics and that’s exactly how many people test positive.
Wejo: One percent?
Floyd: Yeah, that’s about how many positives they have and that’s exactly what their false positive rate is. That’s what they’re expected false positive rate is.
Wejo: That’s just an “A” Sample or “A” and “B”?
Floyd: A & B across the board. It’s very rare that they don’t reverse engineer a “B” sample to match the “A” sample. That is highly unusual. Once you know what you’re trying to get in science, you generally get it. It’s not a blind test.
Wejo: I watched Icarus [recently]. My wife hadn’t seen it. I don’t know if I had actually seen it. I swear I’d seen it, but that [Russian] lab [in the movie was dirty]. The samples are supposed to be anonymous, [yet] they know whose samples are there. The stuff they told me as an athlete doesn’t seem to be the case. Like clearly there’s a master list somewhere and they somehow knew what was on the master list and then this whole lab that WADA is supposed to be overseeing is faking tests at the Olympics or doing [fake] samples.
Floyd: Just straight up faking it.
Wejo: It’s amazing because they should be sending known dirty samples and at least catching those. Was that happening then?
I think the bigger question for me is, [let’s turn to] other sports like running, do you follow running at all?
Floyd: Only the, the mainstream media reports.
Wejo: So you saw the New York City marathon?
Wejo: So how dirty do you think running is?
Floyd: I hesitate to speculate on it other than just if I extrapolate what I know from human nature and what I experienced in cycling, but it would just be guessing. I know cycling and I know the people that are still involved in management, so I feel a little more inclined to make judgments based on information that I know firsthand. But that being said, I know that EPO and, or any way of augmenting your red blood cell count is a huge advantage in endurance sports and anything you can do to recover faster is probably at least as beneficial in running because you have more muscle damage than you do in cycling. In cycling you get fatigue because you can do it for more hours and more days in a row, but in running, you get real muscle damage from impact and, and so I probably shouldn’t guess [at how dirty it is].
Wejo: Okay [turning to ] cycling. Would you say they’re all dirty still?
Floyd: Well, look, I can’t even say for sure that they’re all dirty there and I don’t know that they ever all were. I can say for certain that when I was racing everybody in the peloton and everybody in management, whether they were doping or involved in doping or not certainly knew the extent of the doping. There is nobody there that didn’t know and therefore was complicit in it, right? No one did anything about it.
Wejo: Even that, with the whole Lance stuff. People got so angry. I was just following the sport of running and I was more convinced Lance Armstrong was doping than a lot of runners. A couple of masseuses had said stuff [about Lance]. The evidence seemed to me overwhelming [Lance was doping] before it came out. And you’re right, they just turned a blind eye and [said] ‘oh, we’re testing.’ And I think that’s part of your problem [with this]. Is [them saying] ‘oh, we’re testing it. It’s clean.’ But it’s just a marketing aspect.
Floyd: That’s the biggest part of the problem. I wish that the antidoping agencies would just be honest with how big the problem is. Of course, they don’t want to do that because then they’re gonna lose their funding, right? If they actually admitted that, look, we’re barely doing anything here, then why give them $10 million a year of taxpayer money so USADA can bust a bunch of 55 year old master racers.
Wejo: [cross talk]. It’s amazing how they busted this guy who was like I didn’t know it was illegal and was taking testosterone to win the masters. I could care less about those guys.
Floyd: I don’t understand why they are spending a thousand dollars on that.
Wejo: Don’t test them at all. I do not care [about masters athletes].
Floyd: No one cares.
Wejo: We have limited resources. We need to go after the top of this sport because those are the people inspiring kids and also there’s money there, right? So if you taxed pro sports one percent.
Floyd: They can fund it.
Wejo: The NFL and [other pro sports] there’s enough money that if they wanted to [they could solve this]. You say, why are we spending 10 million, I think we should be spending $100 million [on anti doping].
Floyd: Right, If you’re going to do it, do it right. That’s another thing. I’m not saying they should reduce it, but I’m saying my point was that if they actually came out and admitted, look we haven’t really even put a dent in this and we all know how to solve it because it’s too complex. Number one, everybody would laugh at them because now they’ve said they have solved it and they clearly haven’t and number two, they would lose their funding because if you can’t do anything about it, then just stop wasting your time.
Wejo: Do you think they present the view that they’ve solved it?
Floyd: Well, they certainly present the view that they’re solving it. And I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that that is not true.
Wejo: Just in running, the Olympic marathon champion on the women’s side, the Olympic 1500 champion on the men’s side [at the] last Olympics. Both have been [busted]. [Wait. I forgot about Matt Centrowitz]. Sorry, Matt Centrowitz. [Doper Asbel] Kiprop did not win that Olympics. My apologies. Previous 1500 champion [Asbel Kiprop was] dirty in Kenya. And they’ve got these crazy stories [about their doping].
Floyd: Those are crazy stories.
Wejo: But nobody comes out [and confesses]. They all say, oh, some rogue doctor [doped me]. No one knows [how they were doping]. No one is telling the truth and I agree with you when you said we need complete, complete, I don’t know, immunity or something.
Floyd: I want to be transparent.
Wejo: People like you, when you come out, yeah you cheated or whatever, you made the decision [to cheat] and I guess people can get mad saying you were a rat, but the sport doesn’t get better unless we, we don’t celebrate your doping, but we celebrate you for telling the truth. If Asbel Kiprop came out tomorrow, if he’s truly innocent, yes, keep saying he’s innocent. But everything I’ve known [in sports], people come up with these great [doping excuses], you had your story, Tyler Hamilton [had] the vanishing twin story. We can vet into that, how hard it is to lie like that.
Floyd: It’s not easy.
Wejo: But if they told the truth tomorrow, I don’t know, you can’t let them come back right away. But they shouldn’t be vilified, I don’t know [exactly how to say it], but they made a decision, they made a wrong and now they’re trying to make a right.
Floyd: You know what the problem is? Well, there’s a couple motives that prevent people from telling the complete truth. Number one, they know that there won’t be a global change all at once. So all there will be is another person saying, ‘okay, this is what I know about it’. And maybe their entire network will even get prosecuted in some way. But unless all of those people are then given a free pass to tell the truth [it won’t work]. It’s like this. If you think, okay, I live in England and this is stupid, we drive on the left side of the road. I’m just going to start driving on the right side of the road to make them all change. That doesn’t work. Everyone has to switch sides at the same time or you just have a big giant crash. That’s what’s going on right now. Like there’s a person here, a person there and the anti-doping agencies can pointing at them and saying, ‘Well that’s one person over there. Look, we did something about it.’ If all the information came out at once, then they’d be forced to face it and also then they would actually know what the techniques are, what they’re [the dopers are] doing because right now they don’t have any idea. No one is telling them.
Wejo: I have no idea what percent of [athletes are doping]. We’ve had doping polls on LetsRun- what percent of the people are doping and it’s kind of interesting.
Floyd: Like where are they at on that? What’s the average guess?
Wejo: For world record holders, it’s 70, 80 percent [are dirty]. Actually for world records it’s 90 [percent]. 10 percent of people believe anything, right? And the American distance runners aren’t as good, but generally if you know the person, they’re more likely to be clean.
Floyd: Of course.
Wejo: The ones we root for.
Floyd: They’re the good guys.
Wejo: It’s like you, they were backing you [for being clean], you were a good guy.
Floyd: It’s like a war, right? You root for your team, even though you’re both killing people.
Wejo: Even me, I have no animosity towards you, you’re cycling [and not a runner]. People say ‘that drug cheat. you should hate him.’ [However] a runner [who dopes], some of them I might be angry [at] for [doping]. But it was one of my heroes. I’d be like, ‘Oh, I see why he did it.’ [Take baseball and my team the] Texas Rangers, they had a guy, was it Nelson Cruz? No it wasn’t. Excuse me, it was not Nelson Cruz. Sorry, Nelson for calling you a drug cheat. Yeah, I think it might have been Nelson Cruz. Anyway, he got a suspension. I’m googling this. He came back and played the play-in game for the playoffs. And I was like, ‘Oh yes, we need him badly.’
Floyd: Maybe that’s just a symptom of those are the rules in that sport. And for whatever reason, the Olympic sports have decided that they’re just gonna end people’s careers if there’s a doping incident, whereas American sports have decided that’s just part of the show of it all. Okay he got caught, so he sits out for a couple of games and he’s back.
Wejo: You sit out a fourth of the season. That’s the other thing. My brother went to some [anti-doping] symposium in DC last week. [Travis] Tygart [head of USADA] was there and some others and he [Tygart] said, ‘Oh, major league baseball has great drug testing.’
Floyd: Tygart said that? Oh good Lord.
Wejo: He said it was good. Well it’s better than the NFL so maybe that’s not saying much. Maybe there’s at least some out of season [testing]. I should look into the details more, but yeah, you get busted in Major League Baseball, as we now, it’s very hard to get busted. If you’re caught doping, you’re dumb. But if you get caught, you now get I think a fourth of a season [suspension]. Maybe it’s a little more now. So you can try this, you get caught, you can make hundreds of millions of dollars. You get caught, you sit out a fourth of the season [editor’s note: MLB used to give 50 game suspensions, and now gives 80 for first time positive tests], you go again. Let’s say you’re doping and there’s only [a] 10 percent [chance] you get caught. It’s not even that high I think.
Floyd: It can’t even be that high.
Wejo: It makes sense to keep trying if they think everyone else is trying [from a financial perspective].
Floyd: There’s a lot of money on the line.
Wejo: Nelson Cruz did get a 50 game drug suspension, so I feel better. [However] I was rooting for him for the Texas Rangers. I think team sports are different, right? Maybe cycling’s different cause you’re in a pack and that sort of stuff.
[landis takes phone call]
Floyd: I have a hard time comparing other sports because they generally all do have their own different rules and I guess if people are okay with the rules being what they are, then it’s not really fair to say, well why do baseball players get treated this way and cyclists get treated differently. I mean that’s just what it is. If you don’t like the rules then [change them].
Wejo: So if I was Tygart my sort of positive view on what USADA and WADA are doing [would be], they now have the biological passport [which is a good thing]. Way back in the day, late 90s you could just [take] EPO [straight up]. No problem. Then they got a test for EPO. Still maybe not that great, but you either had to take EPO at certain times right or [you would test positive or] were you taking EPO during the Tour?
Floyd: No you can take EPO (during the Tour). The threshold for testing positive for EPO [is high]. I mean you really would have to make a mistake to get caught.
Wejo: Even now?
Floyd: Yeah. Oh yeah. If you do it intravenously, you could probably do, I know for sure you could do 500 milliliters or 500 units at a time intravenously and have no risk of getting caught .
Wejo: How else would you take it?
Floyd: Generally when it’s prescribed, it’s prescribed as a subcutaneous injection because it has a long half life if you injected it into your subcutaneous fat.
Wejo: You mean an IV versus a shot?
Floyd: So if you put it intravenously then the half life is hours instead of weeks.
Wejo: So just take it a night?
Floyd: Yeah, that’s what you would do. I mean, you can do it every day.
Wejo: During the Tour?
Floyd: Literally. No risk.
Wejo: Wouldn’t your blood profiles [show something]? Now what they made me believe is if you do that, [dope with EPO] your blood profile spikes [and they can detect it].
Floyd: No they can’t tell. Done right it doesn’t cause enough of an acute change [to detect]. It might be changes over time, but they can’t [bust you for that]. They made it out to be this clever test, but the bio passport, I mean people have large variations in blood values naturally in a stressful situation, like an event. So for them to actually set the thresholds [to catch all the cheats], were they would need to be, it would be impractical. It wouldn’t work.
Wejo: You’d have too many false positives? A big list came out in track and field came out a couple of years ago and it was a list of all these people and said ‘likely doping.’ And you just were like, ‘what? [when you saw the names on the list]’ But it’s people whose values are suspicious or at least unusual, and maybe a lot of them are really doping, but some of them probably aren’t. And because worse than like letting a guilty person off is convicting an innocent one, so we have to err on that side.
Floyd: So yeah, they don’t do that. They go the other way. When it comes to doping, it’s guilty until proven innocent. And maybe that’s just a symptom of.
Wejo: I feel like they set the thresholds very [high]. I feel like they err on we’re not going to [falsely] convict you, but once you test positive, you’re generally not getting off.
Floyd: I mean I have another fundamental problem with that bio passport and that is the entire thing is shrouded in secrecy. Like how are we to know that they don’t just selectively pick people, they won’t tell us what the thresholds are. They won’t tell us what they’re measuring. They won’t show us the data even if it was anonymized. Show us the anonymized data and tell us how you decide. That would be a good start, but they don’t.
Wejo: My perception is [there’s] a lot of sort of done in secret committees. Catlin is probably on one of these.
Floyd: For sure he is. Absolutely he is. And here’s the problem for you to trust the bio passport, you have to implicitly trust a bunch of people hired by the IOC. So you tell me whether you think that that’s a good strategy or not?
Wejo: It’s interesting. I feel the cyclists are more caught up [on doping issues]. You guys are more angry at the IOC. Maybe we should be.
Floyd: Because the IOC doesn’t really do anything for us. Running is big and it benefits from the Olympics. Cycling barely gets anything from the Olympics but we’re subjected to all of their bullshit made up rules as they go and I think that’s where the animosity comes from.
Wejo: Because the Olympics is our biggest thing. So maybe we think more positively of them or they pay more attention to us.
Floyd: And they probably are more concerned about the image of running because it also affects them. Whereas they can just make cycling the whipping boy and no one really cares. No one’s watching the Olympic bike race.
Wejo: With the Russians, the IOC would have let them in the Olympics [in 2016] and [the] track [governing body] was the only ones who was like you have to sit out.
Floyd: I was impressed by that. On the other hand it probably comes with some level of hypocrisy as well.
Wejo: But even that. If you ask anyone who knew [beforehand] they would have said every single Russian was doping. [Well] not every single one. Now there’s a few competing [internationally]. Maybe they’re clean, so maybe we shouldn’t say every single one, but look at this state history, look at the performances. Like no one was shocked [they were doping]. The [LetsRun.com] doping polls were off the charts for the Russians.
Floyd: I don’t think anyone was surprised. It made it easy that it was the Russians too. I don’t suspect that they were the only ones doing it but they may not have the exact same approach.
Wejo: For me now, like a lot of Kenyans are testing positive, but I’m [saying], ‘they’re not all doing it.’, I don’t think all is fair, but it’s easier for other people to just say, ‘oh, we have 10 [doping], they’re all doing it.’
Floyd: Which isn’t fair either.
Wejo: I think that’s where cycling is different than running is you get on a top team, and they’re on the program. So now Team Sky, like [are] they’re [on] epo? what can you say, what can’t you say?
Floyd: Well put it this way. I know that they can be using epo and I know that they can be using peptides like growth hormone or there’s all these other insulin growth factors or mitochondrial growth factors. There’s peptides, there’s countless ways you can manipulate peptides that are analogs to growth hormone,that’ll have specific effects on you and there’s zero chance of getting caught. Even growth hormone, you’d have to be tested within 20 minutes of using it.
Wejo: Oh my gosh. I’m getting depressed. Okay, so instead of me complaining, getting depressed, what can we do? If I put you in charge of WADA or USADA, what for people who want clean sport, can you do?
Floyd: Look, I don’t think anyone in the sport likes that side of it, in any sport that has that kind of institutional approach to pharmaceutical assistance, but it becomes just an arms race within it and they all sort of know each other. You’re in your own little world and nobody really wants to turn on each other. So the only way to actually get the information is to give everybody a free pass from the past. Just ‘okay, we’re starting right now. Just tell us what’s happening and how you do it and what you did and let’s see if we can come up with a solution’ because right now they’re just guessing at what they should even be tested for, or how to look for it.
Wejo: But why would someone come clean now?
Floyd: Because I don’t think that everybody enjoys that part. It’s a lot of stress trying to get away with a doping program and race the Tour de France, I can tell you that. It is just an extraordinary amount of stress and if there was a way to stop it then people would prefer that. I don’t know if there’s a way to stop it but I do know that there’s simply no way to create a strategy to stop it if you don’t know what it is and right now the anti doping agencies are not on the inside and they don’t know what’s going on.
Wejo: I think for sure when they get somebody like let’s say Asbel Kiprop. He’s got these crazy stories, saying he didn’t dope but I’m assuming he did. Tell us, please, who’s the coach? Pay him. Who’s the coach? Where did you get this from? You need some incentive. I don’t really care. Give them $100,000 for all I care.
Floyd: What’s the incentive [to tell the truth] ? Right now there’s only a risk in telling the truth. There’s only downside because now you’re the one that’s being accused and if you admit it then you’re going to get absolutely abused publicly again and there’s no upside really. Then they’re going to add ‘rat’ to your title like you said and that’s what people said about me and I think it’s–
Wejo: When you were talking about this I’m like, “Wait, there’s no way all these guys could be doping and keeping quiet, someone would’ve spoken up.” But that was cycling, right? You were in it and they were all doping, all the teammates. It’s crazy because I’m like, “Wait, all these runners can’t be doping we would have heard about it. Somebody would have ratted somebody out.”
Floyd: You’d be amazed how many people [can stay quite] and this is something that unless I’d lived through it I don’t think I would even believe it. It doesn’t turn me into a huge conspiracy theorist, but it does make me more likely to believe some things that seemed hard to imagine that you could pull it off because there were literally hundreds of people, not only that knew about it or were involved in it in cycling. They would come and go and then in all shapes and forms and got fired. They would leave on bad terms, good terms, [and] no one said a word to anyone outside of that little bubble. Everyone in that little bubble knew it and they had their own story for that and they had a separate story for everyone else and if I didn’t see it firsthand, I would not believe that you could pull it off but it’s just the way people are.
Wejo: The mindset I think was different. With running, I was a wannabe Olympian and was content and happy to be at that level and I ran this race in England and this Irish guy I’d never heard of drilled my clock and usually in a race I’m going to know who the people are at my level and I got back [after the race] and people on Let’s Run were like, “Must be a doper.” I’m like, “Dude, there’s no way this dude’s doping.” “I’m not good enough to dope” was my kind of thinking. Like, “I’m not going to be the the best best, [so] why bother?” I love the purity of it. I had beliefs and I still do that some people are doing this clean, at least in running and sure enough this guy [who beat me] Cathal Lombard a couple of years later is busted for EPO and I’m like, “Maybe, I’m in the thing.” We watched Icarus and my wife she’s like, “You could have been Olympic champion.” I’m like, “Come on. No way.” It’s just crazy to think about just these worlds that can go on like parallel universes. I’m in my little one and [the dopers are in theirs] .
Floyd: They don’t overlap and even if they do overlap people know not to say anything.
Wejo: How could all the cyclists could stay quiet? Now, I’m [wondering] , “How would you get people to actually come forward and start speaking the truth?” because the first one who comes [forward] is probably going to get vilified but I think a lot of the people, once you came forward, maybe I’m grossly over simplifying this, but I think a lot of them feel [cross-talk] good [about coming forward.]
Floyd: I think a lot of them did feel good because I think a lot of them were pretty convinced that at some point it was going to come out and just living with that fear [is not easy]
Wejo: It must be tough like you said like with your parents or your friends, you go somewhere and they’re like Lance, excuse me I mean Floyd. I called you Lance, Jesus, that’s the ultimate… in the cycling world that’s the ultimate insult right?
Floyd: [Laughing] That’s allright. That happens all the time.
Wejo: But that, [with others saying] ‘Floyd, you’re innocent, I got your back’. And you’re like Uhhh [knowing the truth] . That’s got to be tough as a human being to do that.
Floyd: Look, that was something I couldn’t even have foreseen when I decided ‘I’m just going to deny this because that’s my chance of getting back into racing’ but once I committed into that path and because it’s such a high-profile fight I have to fight it with everything I got. Then I learned all these other things that now are complicating my life like, okay, now I got people coming up to me saying they feel bad for me and I feel bad that I can’t just tell them the truth. I never envisioned that. All these things I never had [thought about] . I guess maybe you would think I was foolish for not thinking it through, but if you’re going to do this, you have to behave in a way that assumes that you’re not going to get caught otherwise you’re not going to be able to manage it. You don’t sit and think about what am I going to do if this happens [I got caught].
Wejo: In denying it, was it hard? I think we first connected because Floyd’s of Leadville reached out to LetsRun [about advertising] and the [Brett] Kavanaugh hearings were going on, and I was like, “Somebody’s probably lying here [laughs] .” Was it hard to pull that off? I saw something [in reading up about your case that made me think of the hearings] because also at the [Kavanaugh] hearings I was [thinking] , “This Kavanaugh guy is innocent” [because] he seemed very forceful. I heard Lance said to you [when your case was going on] , “You’ve got to put a little more conviction into it [to get people to believe you] ” I’m like “Yeah, [that makes’s since] ” If I was wrongly accused of something, I feel like I would be really angry.
Floyd: Well, I was, but I also was conflicted, because I knew that, “Okay, now I’m denying having doped at all, because what choice did I have?” If I’m going to deny the testosterone and admit to the rest of it, then that’s a moot point.
Wejo: Yeah. You really felt wronged about the testosterone, like, “I didn’t do this.”
Floyd: Yes, I didn’t and I was upset about it.
Wejo: [You’re thinking] ‘This is unjust’, but you’re doping. It’s crazy. [crosstalk] .
Floyd: There were a few educated people that were involved, that paid attention to the case, and know that it was all fucked up, but they had the PR talking points and I was also on the bad end of the press that had had literally- I mean it’s not to blame Lance, but they had had enough of Lance. I came along and won the Tour, and they were like, “Okay, that’s enough.” And when that story came out, I mean they were waiting to just destroy somebody and that was [crosstalk] .
Wejo: Do you think the test came up in this region and they were like, “He’s guilty.” Or do you think the test was faulty? They didn’t purposely try to ruin you, right?
Floyd: I really don’t know. I think that they probably screwed up the test and then it became public, and then they couldn’t back down because then the damage was done and…
Wejo: Then. Oh yeah if they let you off [it looks terrible] .
Floyd: No, they couldn’t. There was no way they could.
Wejo: That would be it.
Floyd: I mean, I think at least even the people that think that I did everything wrong and hate me, [if they] would sit down and say to themselves, Okay in a hypothetical scenario where a guy won the Tour like that, and then it becomes public that he’s tested positive and all this press piles on him, and they essentially crush the guy and then have had to admit that it wasn’t true, there just just simply no way that would ever happen. If that was not a positive test, they would figure out a way to fucking make it a positive test. You can be 100% certain of that. This is not a group of people that is going to do the altruistic thing.
Wejo: There’s some runners, not super high profile, they got off with that tainted beef excuses.
Floyd: That’s different.
Wejo: I feel if it was an Usain Bolt, if they bring the charges they’re going to stick to them, right?
Floyd: They’ve got to stick to it.That’s what this was. That’s a good example. If Usain Bolt comes up and they say he’s got a positive test, I don’t care how many lawyers he hires, that’s not going to happen.
Floyd: Something somewhat similar happened with Chris Froome, last year in the Vuelta , but the UCI tried to cover that up for a long time, until somebody leaked it and then they still figured out a way to fix it. Then they also had a pretty good argument, “Well, that’s just an inhaler,” and yes, we all know that’s not what happened, but they got away with it. But this was a dramatic thing. I had just won the Tour. No Tour de France winner have ever been busted. Then they made a huge spectacle out of it, and once that happens, their position is clear, they can never back down from that.
Wejo: If Tygart was sitting right here, what would he say about your test?
Floyd: He’s a horrible lawyer and I don’t think he even understood the carbon isotope ratio mass spectrometry. I think he doesn’t know.
Wejo: He’s not a scientist.
Floyd: He has no understanding of it.
Floyd: He’s barely a lawyer, he’s certainly not a scientist.
Wejo: I feel like USADA is one of the best [groups] in anti-doping?
Floyd: No, they’re equally as hypocritical.
Wejo: In what way?
Floyd: Well look, let’s just use that Don Catlin thing, because it’s an easy one and he’s well known. There’s a million reasons why I believe that all USADA is, is just a [group of] self centered people that are essentially controlled by IOC and controlled by WADA. They’re inseparable, if you look at it, how they came to be.
Wejo: Well USADA is now critical of WADA.
Floyd: Yes, of course they are, because it’s in their interests to try to get more power and more money, that’s why he’s in DC, trying to get more tax payer money. It has nothing to do with anything at all other than Travis Tygart, making sure that he’s front and center. But at the end of the day, I asked him, I have an email saying, “Travis, what is going on with this Don Catlin guy? Why has he not been treated the way any athlete would have, if they had broken [the rules] ?” Look, this might be more egregious than the cyclists breaking the rules because what he did was undermine the entire validity of the anti-doping agency, and they didn’t do anything to him. They still use him as a [n expert] .
Wejo: I vaguely remember this now. I guess I want believe so I’m like, “Oh, the test probably really weren’t dirty.”
Floyd: Well, he straight ups says it. I’ll go find it for you, it was 2008, I believe, or ’09 that he came out and he just said it in the New York Times [editor’s note: we think it was 2014] . I said you have to prosecute this guy, and his response was, “Floyd, I think his mental health isn’t well, and you know we couldn’t find any evidence of that.” That is the evidence. He said it.
Wejo: Right, if he says it, it’s good enough, right?
Floyd: Look, there’s no reason someone would make that up. There’s certain things people will admit to or could admit to that there just would be no other reason other than the fact that they’re true that you would say it. He stood to gain nothing by saying that, right?
Floyd: How could that not be evidence of something. And that’s my problem with USADA? It’s a one sided trial every time. They don’t hold themselves to the same [standard] . They call it strict liability, that means an athlete is responsible for everything they put in their body, everything that happens. Well if that’s the standard on that side then that should be the standard on the other side.
Wejo: I agree, that makes sense. So is there any hope for a clean sport?
Floyd: No, not with the current approach. No chance.
Wejo: Then we have to change approaches is my [thinking] .
Wejo: I’m going to quit complaining, maybe try to do something [different] . But if we change approaches [what should we do?] Complete immunity is number one. What else can we do?
Floyd: You have to start with that yeah. Well, then you probably do need more money but I hesitate to advocate for giving them more money because you’re just giving more money to the people that are running it now they’ll just be more corrupt and they’ll pay themselves more. If you just go look at the funding and where it’s been spent by WADA, it’s doubled every few years since it started and not only has the amount spent on scientific research for testing not increased relatively, it hasn’t increased at all. Only the salaries and travel expenses and fancy get togethers. They don’t even do more tests.
Wejo: Oh gosh.
Floyd: Only the salaries have increased. Go look at the numbers.
Wejo: I feel like track has increased its tests, but that’s probably a separate thing because they got so much bad publicity from that [cross talk]. Essentially you believe we need to reform the system first, come up with a better system that’s fair to everyone and then increase the money?
Floyd: Yes, if your entire ethos is, “We’re making things fair”, then this is a failure. It’s not fair to the people that are competing because they didn’t clean it up and it’s not even fair to the people that are charged because you just make it up as you go. It’s not even real science.
Wejo: [inaudible] I went through this in and never really thought of it from your perspective. I didn’t realize that the test they actually got you for, you said it didn’t happen. But [from your perspective] if you’re in this sport and think most people are dirty. Only very few people are getting [tested] positive anyway, then they get you for something you didn’t do, it’s like roulette.
Floyd: It’s outrageous and makes you angry. You just get angry and respond irrationally. It’s actually worse than roulette because what it does is if you’re winning a race and all that they’re doing is getting false positives from time to time and you’re tested 10 times more than everyone else [chuckles] then really it’s just a matter of try not to win, just get second. Honestly it looks like in cycling at this point getting second is probably better anyway [laughing], but then you just get tested less and your odds are better regardless.
Wejo: But that would argue that the tests can actually catch you.
Floyd: What I’m saying is that eventually they will because they do have expected false positive rates. Given enough tests [you’ll test positive] .
Wejo: Yes but [is that] 1% and then another 1% on the “B” [sample. So .01*.01?] Or are you just saying in your mind that the B [sample]’s are going to match up?
Floyd: A false positive can be a mistake on an ‘ A’ sample or it can be a biological variation.
Floyd: These are highly complex tests. They don’t necessarily rely on simple [test] . It used to be much more simple. You would test for amphetamines, that’s not an endogenous substance and if you find any of it you know [they’re dirty] . It’s easy to use a mass spectrometer.
Wejo: [Laughing] You know too much about this stuff. I guess you lived it. For me ignorance is bliss. [I’m thinking] they can catch the people, they know what they’re testing for. [For a false positive to occur] the “A” would have to be 1% and then 1% for the B [so that’s not very likely] , but if there was some fluke thing in your system [like you are saying with the biological variation] and it makes it look like you’re dirty, you’re screwed.
Floyd: Most of the tests now because they’re testing for hormones that are identical to the endogenous hormones. They test for laboratory variations and electric charge in those molecules or they test for relative ratios to other hormones in your body and these things can have variations that they don’t have really much data on, so they don’t really know. Yes, you know if you take a subject and give them something, he’ll express this on the test. What they don’t know is, given a thousand other people doing this and not taking the drug, well, they also express the same thing. They don’t have those studies, they just don’t exist.
Wejo: It’s too hard to do almost.
Floyd: Yes, that’s part of the problem, is the cost of it. Bu in the mean time, until you have that funding, this is not a solution. I would wager that the anti-doping approach has killed more people than drugs have. There are more people that have died in cycling because of the public humiliation and essentially just suicide.
Wejo: Wait anti-doping has killed more people than what?
Floyd: Than drugs, in sports. Than any of these drugs. EPO doesn’t kill people, testosterone [doesn’t kill people]
Wejo: You take too much and you fall asleep [and die] or something.
Floyd: That’s the theory but there’s never been a proven case of it.
Wejo: Weren’t cyclists dying in their sleep?
Floyd: No, that’s a myth. That’s not a real thing, no one can name them. That’s been perpetuated for–
Wejo: I thought all these cyclists would drop dead.
Floyd: It’s not a real thing.
Floyd: There is no evidence of that. It is not a true story. There is simply no…
Wejo: I’m googling ‘cyclists dies sleep’
Floyd: There’s been this myth in cycling forever and I’m sure that you guys have heard it. It’s like 12 Dutch guys [crosstalk] [editor’s note: We did find this article that claims “no fewer than 20 Belgian and Dutch cyclists died from otherwise inexplicable nocturnal heart attacks” and this article]
Wejo: Michael Goolaerts
Floyd: People die in their sleep all the time. We don’t know if this guy was [doping] Young people [can die suddenly] There are anomalies, right? People have heart attacks. It just can happen.
Wejo: That’s true.
Floyd: I mean it happens in every sport. Sometimes even people die–
Wejo: Johannes Draaijer ever heard of him
Floyd: No, but the point is there was this story out there that 12 Dutch cyclists all died in the same hotel. It’s not a true story.
Wejo: You mean someone gets busted for doping and they go commit suicide?
Floyd: That happens.
Wejo: And I guess some people would say, [and] this sounds callous, [they would say] , ‘but they shouldn’t have been doping. They brought it upon themselves right?’
Floyd: Okay, you could say that in a fair world where they were doping to try to get an advantage over a bunch of people that weren’t, but that’s not what happens.
Wejo: Right. I guess in the world of sport I was at, I didn’t think everyone else was doping so it’s just different.
Floyd: Well, I mean honestly in cycling we knew it. It was openly talked about. You just talk about it in the peloton and people knew what people were doing. That’s just the nature of it.
Wejo: So if this is the world [of cycling] why start a cycling team? Why are you back in cycling?
Floyd: Well because 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 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.
Wejo: The top kid on your team, he’s going to get offers from Europe. Then you’re telling me he’s got to go do stuff.
Floyd: I would tell him if you want to go race there, go do it, but here’s what you’re going to be faced with and I don’t think it’s a good idea to make that decision. If you want to go try to do it clean, go ahead, but you’re going to have a very, very hard time.
Wejo: So in your mind, the guy [inaudible] his team is still just breaking the rules? There is no question?
Floyd: Well let me ask you this. If you had to guess what percentage of professional cycling is probably taking drugs? It’s not zero right?
Floyd: Is it 10%? Let’s just be as nice to them as we can and say it’s 10%.
Wejo: 10 or 20?
Floyd: That’s not the 10% at the back of the peloton.
Wejo: That’s true. I don’t know. [Maybe] I was content to be the guy in the back of the peloton [laughing] . [cross talk] but you’re right, at some point you’re faced with, we need a better system.
Floyd: We do. Absolutely.
Wejo: The system is crazy. Oscar Pereiro, that’s the guy who, [he’s] the 2006 Tour de France winner.
Floyd: He’s the winner.
Wejo: He’s angry at you for stealing his glory?
Wejo:: And he talked to you about doping during the tour?
Floyd: Not talked to me. He was on my team the previous year and I helped him do blood doping. I was in the room.
Wejo: But even in 2006 [the next year] , you know [he doped] . He admitted it?
Floyd: Yes, he did it. We talked about it in the race. This is openly talked about.
Wejo: During the race? He’s on a different team, You’re saying how’s your [doping going] ?
Floyd: Yes, because we were friends at that point. We had raced together for 2 years.
Wejo: He’s on a rival team and you’re like, “Hey how’s your doping coming?”
Floyd: Yes. Everyone did the same thing. We didn’t invent these techniques. This was a group approach to things.
Wejo: So you could do EPO right now on Tour and you can get away with it?
Floyd: You could do EPO right now in enough quantities that you could raise your hematocrit from 44 to 50 in a two week period and have zero risk.
Wejo: When the profile see you go from 44 to 50 and flag you?
Floyd: It would go 44 to 50 in a line that makes sense and they would say it could be a million biological factors that would cause that and there is no way to prove it.
Wejo: What if we started publicly posting all the blood profiles, all the stuff, and make it public?
Floyd: Then you’re just going to get– First of all there is something to be said for taking large amounts of data and analysing it right?
Floyd: And looking for outliers but that’s also not really a very good approach to trying to stop somebody from doping because if you just look at humans, in general, you’ll find all kinds of outliers and nobody knows why. I mean humans are very diverse– If you’re not living– [crosstalk]
Wejo: I said they should make it public and I think that Tygart [and USADA] they would be like, “Oh, the cheats would learn from this and they’ll know what they could push up to and not get caught.”
Floyd: Here’s one thing I know is that science doesn’t hide anything, so if they’re arguing that they should keep things a secret, then there is a problem.
Wejo: No, I mean like the blood profiles of all the athletes or something [make them public].
Floyd: No. I agree but make them all public. I’m with you.
Wejo: You are with me?
Floyd: Go for it.
Wejo: Okay, good.
Floyd: At least you could try to learn something. I don’t know if it would actually lead to a better system or better proof.
Wejo: But they’re like, “The cheats will take advantage.” I’m like, well the cheats are already taking advantage and nothing’s public so [why not change]?
Floyd: Nothing is happening.
Wejo: I don’t have confidence in the test.
Floyd: That’s why you don’t have confidence. Its because if they could show you all this data and then say, “Look, this is why this is an outlier,” and explain it, [then] we’’d have a reason to actually maybe just sit down and listen, but right now they’re just saying you’re going to have to trust us. We’re from the Olympic Committee and you’re going to have to trust us. If you’re okay with that then that’s fine, but that’s a bizarre approach to life if you ask me.
Wejo: No, it’s depressing.
Floyd: I don’t mean that to depressing. Well, this is is just reality and it was hard on me because I had to live through it and it was directed at me and I felt singled out and I deserved a lot of it but at the end of the day–
Wejo: You’ve got to understand those people aren’t going to have a pity party for you because they are like, “Oh, you were cheating.”
Floyd: I don’t want them to have a pity party for me. I don’t care. This is not about me saying I’m a victim. I didn’t mean to come off as a victim in any way and if it sounded that way it was wrong.
Wejo: No. I don’t think it sounded that way.
Floyd: If you really want to fix it and you believe it’s a problem then let’s address it in a meaningful way not just sort of haphazard, catch a guy here and catch a guy there thinking that’s a deterrent because it isn’t. It’s not working.
Wejo: It’s been an hour already. We were going to do an hour podcast. I’m doing an hour to some doping. Do you have anything else more to say about doping? What people are missing or something we could do to clean it up or we can sort of transition [what we’re talking about]
Floyd: I don’t know. I’ll tell you what. If I have any epiphanies on how to fix it I’ll be happy to let you know.
Wejo: Tell me if you think this is a crazy idea, you and Lance should get together. Maybe you don’t have to be in the same room and talk to each other but I feel like you guys have the name and the platform. He’s upset about the system too and people are like, “Why are you guys still upset?” But you guys sound very similar when you talk about the system.
Floyd: Yes, because we’re telling the truth. The system doesn’t work. We’re not the right messenger but the other problem is, who’s the messenger going to be? No athlete that isn’t currently a target of the anti-doping agency is going to stand up and say, “Hey, this is fucked up,” because then they’re going to become a target. You’d have to really believe in–
Wejo: I feel like you guys, [and] maybe someone who’s falsely convicted [could lead the change] . We get emails on LetsRun and we sort of dismiss them [saying] ‘ I didn’t do this.’ Someone [accused of being] on EPO, says look, ‘I didn’t do this.’ Now I’m starting to believe [she might be telling the truth] . She’s like, “I swear [I didn’t do this] .” She’s not even that prominent an athlete, but maybe it’s one they just hang out to dry even not intentionally, but maybe she had the [biological anomaly you talked about] . Who knows?
Floyd: Every scientific test has a margin of error, has a false positive rate. That’s just the nature of science. We don’t know everything and so there are going to be people that get convicted that aren’t guilty especially now we’re it’s just mass hysteria where as soon as somebody says somebody’s doping [it’s mass hysteria] . It’s directly related to how well they did as well, the closer they were to winning, the more likely people are likely to say, “Of course, they were cheating.”
Wejo: So on LetsRun should we not refer to dopers as drug cheats?
Floyd: No. You can. It’s actually a funny way to say it. ‘Cheater’ because when we grew up we would use the word ‘cheater’ so every time they say ‘drug cheat’, it’s like it just sounds like it’s a funny thing to say.
Wejo: We’re trying to shame them.There’s this woman, Mary Slaney, have you ever heard of her?
Wejo: Mary Decker Slaney. Maybe we should be [pause] . I’m convinced she doped. She was convicted for doping but they [her defenders] were like, “Oh, the test was no good.” It’s the same stuff and I’m like, “Oh, I don’t care.” But maybe I should care.” People get mad. But my thing is maybe we should just refer to them that way until they confess and then [we’ll change] we’ll be like ‘Floyd Landis helping get to the [bottom of the] problem.
Floyd: Maybe I shouldn’t have brought that up. Now it’s like I’m saying I shouldn’t be called [that] . At some point, I’m like, “Come on, guys. This is 12 years ago and I’m trying to move on with my life.”
[65:11] Wejo: We can use that in transition to the next area.At some point, people quit cycling, people on your team will quit cycling, you quit cycling, I quit running, well, I run with my dogs but quit [being] super competitive. Even if you’re working a full job and are super competitive, it’s crazy how much time, even some of these recreational people put into running, cycling, they’re obsessed and they see me now [and think] , “Oh, you’re really into running?” I’m like, “I go run with my dogs. It’s fun. What do you mean? Training? Why would I go do that?” I think you have a lot of perspective on trying to live a better life, with what’s a better life transitioning from sport–
Floyd: 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.
For the people that get that experience from endurance sports, that’s something that’s very, very hard to replace and that’s why I started doing it as a kid and I think that’s probably why you got into it as a kid, you liked the feeling and then, all of a sudden, you’re like, “Okay, the competition adds a layer of a thrill to it.”
Wejo: It’s weird. I didn’t realize that I liked it till later. You’re taught running is punishment but I knew I was good at it and I liked being good at something and then I was like, “Okay, I’m good at it. It’s fun.” I’m competitive. There’s a very competitive part of me, and then later I think in college I was like, actually I love running, like just the feeling. It’s not torture, if you’re doing it right, you’re right at the threshold, you’re pushing, you’re trying to get the most from your body. You’re not making your body do something it can’t do.
Floyd: No, it’s 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.
Wejo: Yes, I’m glad you can only run about an hour a day. [laughter] . It’s much easier.
Floyd: Yes, I actually probably should get into running.
Wejo: You can scale down from six hours of biking to like an hour and a half. I can scale down from an hour of running, an hour and a half to 20 minutes.
Floyd: Just go run around.
Wejo: My wife laughs, she’s like, “You were gone 20 minutes.” I’m like, “It was great, the dog’s got some exercise.”
Floyd: Got some fresh air.
Wejo: If I’m feeling good, I’ll pick it up a little bit a few times.
Floyd: No, I’m with you, I’m on the same plane now.
Wejo: More than an hour and my knees hurt.
Floyd: I’m not timing my daily– I’m not on Strava, put it that way. No Strava for me.
Wejo: Yes, I’m amazed some of my friends recreational running and they still put it on Strava. I’m like, “Even worse.”
Floyd: Then you’re just telling people where you’re at.
Wejo: Yeah where are you? Come rob my house. Also, I think some of this is related to [living] the happy life, then it’s out there [on] social media, we start comparing ourselves with other people and
Floyd: Then you get depressed.
Wejo: Yes. You said how people are obsessed with fame. You were at the pinnacle at one point, [yet you] sort of started off in the Mennonite thing which if very [far] away from fame, right?
Floyd: Oh yeah.
Wejo: You guys are doing your own little thing and I think–
Floyd: Fame wasn’t even something you thought about or saw.
Wejo: Right. There was a lot of simplicity and beauty in that I feel, but I’m sure there were problems in that as well. Then you’re in this whole other world at the pinnacle and that comes crashing down and now you’re Floyd businessman, family man. From that transformation, I’m sure in your head, you’re figuring it out, it’s not that different, but it is. What have you learned from some of that?
Floyd: You know, I don’t know. I’ve been trying to think or envision what it would be like if I just never told the truth like if I just stuck to the story, here I would be now.
Wejo: Thank you, please [for telling the truth] . Thankfully you didn’t [stick to the lie].
Floyd: No, not for your sake. No. No, I wonder how I would be and I don’t think I’d be as comfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t comfortable doing that and I kept thinking with time it would get better but because that story was so tied to who I am, it was just, there was no way to avoid it and I couldn’t ride my bike and not have it come up and so I think for me part of it…
Wejo: The really deep depression, the opiates, that stuff was it after confessing, most of that?
Floyd: No, it was before but then I just was hooked on them and I would take them more than I should have even afterwards just because– look, again I knew what the press was going to do and I knew Lance had Nike and all kinds of real PR money behind him and I was going to get torched, right? I’d been through it before but that didn’t make it pleasant and so I had to do it my own way. In some kind of fucked up way, alcohol just kept me alive because then I could check out, just–
Wejo: Your darkest times were before 2010 or after?
Floyd: I don’t know, I’d say they were equal. There was a couple of years after 2010 where I just
Wejo: You seem like in a very good place now, is that [accurate]
Floyd: I’m fine now. I go through like everyone does, everyone has ups and downs but I think it’s more or less a healthy place. I don’t know, if I think about it too much, put it this way, if I had to sit and talk about it like this even, a couple of years ago, I would feel a lot of anxiety and I don’t really feel that now.
Wejo: You look good. Hopefully I’m not [making you anxious ] .
Floyd: No, I feel fine. [laughter] .
Wejo: I shouldn’t laugh about it. [crosstalk] .You can hear a little something in your voice, I can see how you can get anxious.
Floyd: It’s not perfect.
Wejo: I wouldn’t want to have to talk about, I don’t know, something I’m not really proud of.
Floyd: Yes, that’s what it is.
Wejo: That’s would be tough.
Floyd: No, it’s all right but–
Wejo: If people said, “Hey, you did this to so and so, in eighth grade.” It’d be like, “I don’t want to talk about it all the time.”
Wejo: We sit down and we talk for an hour about it.
Floyd: I think at this point, 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, 12 years of, yeah, there were [laughs] some dark days.
Wejo: Not everyone doped to win the Tour de France, but we all have dark moments in our lives and– I don’t know. There’s got to be– there’s whole industries on this but how do you come back from that?
Floyd: I don’t know. I’ve given that money to a 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. I’ve been fortunate to be able to get into another industry where I can completely remove myself from cycling most of the time. I think that has helped 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.
Wejo: I saw you talking about some people hanging on to cycling, they’re ex-cyclists, they go to the race, and so much of their identity is from that. I’ll see it with running and these old timers. [saying] ‘ Remember this race in 75’ and I’m like, “Maybe I shouldn’t judge because I’m sure there’s stuff I do.” I’m like, “I hope their identiy isn’t tied to that because that’s gone.” It’s fun to reminisce and [think], “Hey that was fun.” If that’s all you were is the 25-year-old cyclist or 30 year old, whatever it was, that goes away. We get one shot at life.
[Don’t take me wrong]. It was great. When I was running and competing, when I moved to Flagstaff to train full time, [crosstalk] . It was awesome.
Floyd: You have a reason [to train] every morning. [cross talk]
Wejo: Life was simple. Run. [People would ask] What else will you do? ‘Nothing.’ It was great. I did whatever I wanted. It was just easy and fun. You were so committed to something. I think that commitment, I saw something you said, you said life has to have a purpose. I used to think “Running has no [purpose] . It’s pointless. It’s selfish .” And I’m like ‘I’ll start a website and help people do this thing that I consider kind of pointless?’ But I’m like, “No. I’m want to help them get more out of their life.”
Floyd: Yes. I didn’t mean it as a higher purpose. 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’re 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.
Wejo: Yes. I agree with you. We need stuff to strive for. We should always be trying to improve. Yeah the world’s F’ed up, but there’s also a lot of beauty in the world. I know one thing, you can focus on the negative or evil in the world or the good. We’re never going to get rid of the crap. I’m sure if you went around in like 1950 people are like, “This is terrible.” [crosstalk] [and] Some people are like, “The ’50’s were so good.” I’m like, “We had institutional racism.” I’m like, “Women’s [rights] . What are you talking about?” Now it’s like, “These people have it terrible.” [cross talk[ I watched the national news last night for some reason for the first time in [a longtime] and, “Holy Moly.” It’s was just one [negative] thing after another.
Floyd: And you can watch it all night and it never ends. [laughs]
Wejo: Yes. I saw some [interview] . I don’t know if it was the Atlantic, but it was talking about your parents and they said, “My parents are right about a lot of things. One of them is, you have to accept things before you can be happy.”
Floyd: Yeah. I try not to get too overly philosophical about things because it just ends up sounding cliche. I wanted to fight it for so long. Over time I knew that I’d never undo whatever image I had. It wasn’t like how I thought I was going to fix it. Just being able to be bluntly honest about it. Some people don’t necessarily like that approach but it feels so much better than the alternative for me that I’m okay now. I accept it. This is what it was. This is what it is. You can disagree with what I did but at least here’s the whole story.
Wejo: But also you can’t change it so you have to accept it.
Wejo: I think I would say if I’ve had any epiphanies in the most recent part of my life, [it would be] , focus on what you can control. Some of that is the acceptance. Okay I pretend I don’t care what people think about me but I do. So “Floyd. Don’t get quite so upset.” Or someone calls me an asshole on LetsRun and I don’t see it sometimes. And they go, ‘You didn’t see this about you ?” And I’m like, “Oh. Good thing I didn’t see that one.” But if they say something about my brother, then I get angry. I want to defend him. Myself, some stuff I don’t care [about] but certain things about me, I would care more [about] . It’s easier said than done.
[spp-timestamp time="76:00"] Floyd: People can be mean on the internet. I don’t even know if some of them realize how it’s perceived on the other end. Because I have friends that write in different ways. Some of them come off a lot more aggressive than blunt. They don’t actually even mean it that way. They’ll send you an email, right, depending on how they wrote it. Some of them are just plain assholes and don’t care, but I think there’s a lot of people on the internet that don’t really put any thought into what it might feel like on the other end, or if that person’s even reading it.
Wejo: On our forums people blast some of these stars.
Floyd: They go crazy on it.
Wejo: People call up and say, can you remove this. I’m like, “It’s their opinion.” Maybe you could argue we should go the other way [in terms of moderation] , but I’m like, “Why do you care?”
Floyd: I think it’s therapy for them, honestly.
Wejo: The people blasting it?
Wejo: Yes, for sure.
Floyd: I think it’s their therapy. “This is my little group and I can just say whatever the hell I please, and get it out of my system and then I can go about my day.”
Wejo: Yes, and they go back and are nice to their kid.
Floyd: I got my aggression out. Yes, which whatever, that’s great. [laughs]
Wejo: I try to tell people with the fame is going to come [scrutiny] I’m like, “They’re not talking about Joe Blow at the roadrace”.
Floyd: [crosstalk] You get both sides of it.
Wejo: It’s kind of crazy some of the vitriol you’ll see. I think it’s getting worse. [cross talk]
Floyd: The time they’ll take to just sit there and write it. That’s what amazes me is.
Wejo: Yes, some aren’t just one-liners. Some are like-
Floyd: Like well thought out. [laughs] You might disagree with them, but they’ll sit there and write it, and they got their argument
Wejo: I’m sure you must have seen some crazy stuff.
Floyd: I finally learned how to not read it
Wejo: Well good.
Floyd: Or just laugh at it or know when to read it now. If I’m in a fucking mood when I can laugh at it then I’ll read it. To be honest, I’ve actually run into some of the people that probably were guilty of writing things like that, and have actually said it to me and said they felt bad now that they actually see you’re a person. [laughs]
Wejo: Yes. They’d write a lot of stuff they wouldn’t say to your face, right?
Floyd: Yes. That makes me think that they’re not actually evil people, it’s just some kind of therapy. It lets them get out whatever kind of feelings they have about who knows what. It may not even be directed at me or whatever they’re writing about, it’s just they’re just angry at something in the world and this is their outlet for it. Not defending everybody, some of them are kind of offensive.
Wejo: Yes, some are, right? There’s a spectrum. It’s nuts.
The purpose, Is Floyd’s of Leadville now your purpose? When you get up every day, what motivates you? Is it just being a better father?
Wejo: A better partner?
Floyd: Yes. 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. It’s new.
Wejo: Kids aren’t jaded.
Floyd: No, not at all.
Wejo: They see the beauty in the world.
Floyd: No, exactly. They love it. It’s funny, they see things I don’t normally notice and so that part’s been probably the best part of my life, but 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 it’s 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.
Wejo: Interesting. I don’t have kids yet, but even with LetsRun, I’ve been doing it for 18 years, but I think “No. I’m like an entrepreneur.” I’ve been doing the same thing for 18 years and there’s only five of us, but it’s its own little thing..
Floyd: It’s a project.
Wejo: Yes. It’s a project, and I shouldn’t feel like some days I should have more goals and that sort of stuff, but I’m motivated when I get up every day.
Floyd: Yes, that’s all that you care about.
Wejo: Even I get to pick and choose stuff what I do. I usually don’t do stuff like this. I was really excited [to do it] .
I want to get back on trying to somehow improve sport. When I go back to optimistic Weldon I think maybe I can do it and then I give up for five or ten years.
and then I’m like, “I have a platform, maybe if we can point stuff out and send people somewhere and get some people together [we can make a difference] ” But I don’t know. It’s better than just throwing up your hands and complaining, right?
Floyd: Yes, I agree. Look, I’m guilty of saying, a few times, that I think they should just give up on anti-doping. I don’t really think that as a global approach they should just give up. What I think is that they should rethink what they’re doing now and just pause it for a second, because I think it’s doing more harm than good. It certainly isn’t looking like it’s promising for the long-term, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for a solution. I don’t know what the solution is and there’s no harm in trying and brainstorming, and having smart people try to figure out a solution.
Again, because it’s coming from me, it’s somewhat biased, but I think the system doesn’t work. If trying to fix it makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something, you probably are. Somebody will figure something out. There’s ways to solve pretty much any problem, just this one hasn’t been cracked.
Wejo: Yes. Maybe it’s like running or cycling, just put one foot in front of the other and eventually you get somewhere but it’s like, in a sense it’s so overwhelming. Even in the business , same thing I’m like, “I’ve got to do this and this and I’m like, “It’s too overwhelming” and it’s like one foot in front of another, right?”
Floyd: That happens, every week or so, I’ll have a day where I’m like, “Man, I got myself in over my head here, I can’t manage it all.
Part III: Floyds of Leadville, CBD Products, Running a Business
Wejo: The Floyd stuff, the whole reason this [interview] came about, the reason [is] you reached out about advertising, and you may do that but I’m like, “I want this [interview] to be separate,” so I [thought], “I’m talking to Floyd regardless” and then you’re like, I’ll send you this stuff [Floyd’s of Leadville product] . Now I’m intrigued by this because as an athlete , I would do anything to get better as long as I thought it was legal but people [have] their lines [they won’t cross] . I guess I would draw the lines at the WADA rules but like caffeine, I’d see how much you could take [legally] . I remember thinking ‘it’s cool’. I went to my first US road championships, I saw this guy drinking the coffee and I’d heard you’re supposed to drink coffee. And I got 10th place and I was so excited. [laughter] I drank coffee and I won some prize money. [Cross talk.] And some people are pure and are like “You shouldn’t drink coffee’ and I’m like “Whatever, man.”
Wejo: I got all this stuff in the mail and I don’t know what I thought it was going to be but you guys have a lot of stuff. I thought it was creams [that you made] but also I’m not into weed, so I’m skeptical, but then I started reading up on it, I’m like, “If there’s a better way to help with inflammation [I’ll consider it]
Floyd: [cross talk] That’s one thing it clearly does.
Wejo: What for a runner [do you have]?
Floyd: Let me just explain it. There’s a couple variations of stuff we make.
Wejo: Let me get my video camera, keep talking. [Pause][84:17]
[Editor’s note: The video below is of the podcast and goes from here until the 92:00 mark]
All right, LetsRun – Floyd Landis explaining how to get away with doping. Just kidding.
Floyd: Yeah, can’t help you with that.
Wejo: Are the jokes allowed or not?
Floyd: Of course.
Just as a baseline understanding, hemp is where we get the CBD from. Hemp is cannabis that’s got less than 0.3 percent THC. That’s just a regulatory threshold that determines whether cannabis is hemp or marijuana. You can extract as you would with marijuana, you can extract the oils from the bud, the flower part of it and then you have what we call is a full spectrum oil. It does have trace amount of THC in it. So we have a line that we put black labels on it. It says “full spectrum”. It’s got 600 milligrams of CBD in this particular bottle but it does have trace amounts of THC in it. Some people are completely averse to that or work as an airline pilot or something like and have a theoretical risk of using that.
Wejo: You can have CBD without THC?
Floyd: Yes. There’s a way to take the oil and and isolate the THC. It’s a chemical process that ends up being just a white powder and then you can add it to things just as you would caffeine or something, right? That’s what we make most of this stuff out of. We have a protein recovery mix. It’s got 25 milligrams of isolate in it. There’s zero THC or any other compounds from hemp and it’s just pure CBD. A couple flavors of those. We make a hydration mix. Some people like a small amount of CBD before a workout they feel like it.
Wejo: It helps relax their pain or what?
Floyd: I think it’s more of a focus thing, it helps you.
Wejo: I can not be ADD if I took this stuff in the morning?
Floyd: It really helps with that actually. It helps people that can’t sleep at night for that reason, like when your mind’s running at night. It doesn’t make you tired but if you take it at night, it has this just calming feeling. It’s actually a really nice just sleep aid. It doesn’t make you tired, it just helps you manage your thoughts. I’d be interested in hearing what you think if you try it out. We have a couple different variants. We have topical. This one’s got the black label too, so it has very small amounts of THC. This is 50 milligrams. A good dose if you’re taking it orally is 25 to 50 milligrams.
Wejo: This just helps you be calm or recovery or both?
Floyd: Both. It helps with pain. I don’t want to oversell it because people then will think I’m crazy but it has a couple very noticeable effects. One is it helps manage pain, the other is that it helps just with focus and calms your mind. It’s a noticeable effect too.
Wejo: You take it every day?
Floyd: I do, yes. I really like it.
Wejo: You take a pill and the liquid and ?
Floyd: What’s in the pill, what’s in the tincture is exactly the same thing. It’s just more economical in making it this way [as a tincture] because we don’t have to put it into a gel or capsule. Some people buy this because it’s way less expensive. It tastes like it’s oil, it tastes like marijuana, so some people don’t like the taste [of the tincture] but then once you have the isolate, you can put it into other things. This is a trans dermal cream that we make using a pharmaceutical grade base that works surprisingly well. I was skeptical at first but we have
Wejo: Like my back hurts, put that on there?
Floyd: Yes. It doesn’t work for everybody all the time, if it’s going to for the kind of pain that you’re using it on, it’ll work in 15 minutes, you’ll know. Probably, maybe 2 or 3 pumps and then just rub it on and around the area where it hurts. We’ve had some amazing feedback from that stuff.
Wejo: What are these little gels?
Floyd: These are just more like, warm up and rubs for sports. They smell, they have more smell. This doesn’t have any smell to it. There’s an arnica one, there’s a warming one, it’s got a spice in it, this one’s arnica. People like different herbal topicals. I’m not a huge fan of them but it’s big in cycling, especially. People like
Wejo: Cycling’s one thing but in terms of running [a business] there’s two businesses you have. You sell weed, people can smoke it or whatever. That’s in Leadville or that’s in Denver, too?
Floyd: We have a store in Leadville, then we have 3 stores in Portland.
Floyd: In Portland, Oregon, yes.
Floyd: Leadville’s small but– but it’s a decent place to have a dispensary because in Colorado they let the local jurisdictions with the options whether they want to allow it or not so there’s quite a few towns south of Leadville that don’t allow marijuana so we get business from those town’s folks, it’s not a bad spot to have a store.
Wejo: Being a regulated industry could be good or bad. They can keep out your competitors, that’d be great. But can you go open up in Denver or everybody’s already in Denver?
Floyd: We can, there’s a market for licenses. There’s still some new licenses.
Wejo: There’s only so many licenses that they give out.
Floyd: That depends as well in a given city or a given county, the local jurisdiction or municipality can limit it. Denver didn’t necessarily limit initially, now I think there’s some limits to it but you can buy and sell these licenses. Yes, we could do it in Denver.
Wejo: And the money, it’s hard to put in the banking system still or is that still…
Floyd: It’s complicated and there are some banks that will bank with marijuana businesses in Colorado but the cost is really high so
Wejo: Is the CBD the same business or is it separate?
Floyd: No, we keep it completely separate because the regulatory cost of growing marijuana is very high because just the amount of paperwork and surveillance, they want to track where this, how much you grew all the way to where it was sold because they don’t want the federal government saying, “The state of Colorado doesn’t know how to manage this.” There’s a lot of cost to it whereas on the hemp side, when we grow hemp, we have a little bit of regulatory cost on the farming side of it when we grow it, but after that it doesn’t have the tracking system.
Wejo: Hemp’s a completely different crop, but it has THC in it?
Floyd: Yes, it’s regulated completely differently. As long as it has less than .3% THC by dry weight when you harvest it, then it’s called hemp. There’s also farming.
Wejo: Do people smoke hemp?
Floyd: Yes, they do. The really high quality stuff you can smoke it and if you smoke CBD flower it’s nice, it’s a nice relaxing feeling.
Wejo: Long term, do you think the CBD part is going to be much bigger? One, you’re not limited to location, right? Eventually marijuana may be legal everywhere in America, but it’s not [now]
Floyd: It’ll be a while, yeah.
Wejo: But there’s a huge market for performance athletes or anyone with pain or whatever it is, right? You don’t have to be an athlete, right? My mom, she probably consumes more Advil than the rest of us.
Floyd: [laughs] I’ll have to get her some CBD. But yes, I like both sides of it, I like the marijuana side, it’s a funny crowd, it’s people that really like marijuana and so it’s a whole new experience for me. 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.
Wejo: The marijuana side, you guys have to grow the plants yourselves? You can’t buy them from someone else?
Floyd: There’s a liquid market for that as well but that’s within a regulated framework where it has to be transported by a certain licensed operation to another licensed operation and there’s a tracking system and it’s complex.
Wejo: I feel like if they can track these plants, we should be able to have better anti-doping.
Floyd: [laughs] Maybe you can put those guys from the alcohol and tobacco in charge. [laughs]
Wejo: Didn’t Jeff Novitsky go into something else?
Floyd: Yes, that was sketchy as well, right? Now he’s in charge of the anti-doping in MMA which I’m sure is all cleaned up now.
Wejo: But he probably gets paid a lot better right?
Floyd: Yes, I don’t fault him for that but yes. [laughs]
[Editor’s note: The video below goes from the 1:32:10 portion of the transcript to the 1:35 mark]
Wejo: I’m a runner, what should I buy? Or do you have different markets? People that are recovering. I feel that there’s so many products. What’s your best seller? Or what do you think people should buy?
Wejo: You have a cream and a balm, what’s the difference?
Floyd: They’re both more or less the same thing. The balms have other herbal substances mixed into them, but they’re just meant for topical pain or topical soreness, things like that.
Wejo: You seem to know about the science. You started this thing on your own? Did doctors come to you? How did this come about?
Floyd: I started on my own on the marijuana side of it. Initially, the business we started was a couple friends and I started a company where we did the extraction of the oils from the plant. There are a bunch of ways you can get the oils out of the bud. You can use solvents or heat and pressure, and things like that. We were running an operation using CO2 as a solvent and extracting the oils, making concentrates. That’s the same thing you do with with hemp, when the hemp opportunity came along a couple years ago. We do the extraction on that side, we make the raw material, and then we mix it into different things, depending on what people are trying to cover.
We try to make it convenient. Some people use a protein shake for breakfast or after a workout or whatever, so we added things like that, something they’re already used to using. It also appears less taboo. 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, but our best sellers are generally the topical cream and the ingestible capsules, because they’re a higher dose and you can get them. It’s easy and convenient to take.
We get good feedback. Very rarely somebody says, “Look, I didn’t get any benefit from this at all.”
Wejo: Are you the CEO?
Floyd: Yes, the CEO. I have a couple of partners, but I’m the majority shareholder.
Wejo: How often do you split time between New York and Colorado and Portland?
Floyd: I just spend most of my time in Colorado, I’m a resident there, not here. 25% of the time (in NY). Portland, I don’t go out there too much, we have a pretty good staff there that manages all the stores there, so I don’t have to be there quite as much. We don’t have a cultivation there, so there’s not quite as much to manage, it’s just the stores, we buy the raw material there. In Colorado we grow our own stuff.
Wejo: Your family is here?
Floyd: They travel there with me, yeah.
Wejo: I miss the mountains.
[1:35:00] Floyd: Colorado is nice.
Wejo: Is there anything else we’ve missed or need to discuss?
Floyd: No, I don’t think so. I think a lot of the sales we get are purely word-of-mouth. People that have tried CBD products and benefited from them, and tell their friends about it. Because it’s not quite regulated as a supplement and we’re not allowed to make any medical claims. We say relax and recover, it’s meant for just using it after a workout. There’s other things you can use it for, but we don’t make any claims, we just rely on sort of word-to-mouth from people, telling their friends that they benefited from it.
Wejo: Interesting. What about in general? In terms of this conversation, is there anything we’ve missed apart from CBD?
Floyd: No. Well we didn’t solve the doping problem, but I think.
Wejo: We’re almost there.
Floyd: We’re getting there.[95:49]
Editor’s note: The video below is of the part below talking about the social awkwardness of runners vs cyclists.
Wejo: Tomorrow [we’ll solve it] . All right, one final question. Runners or cyclists, who’s more awkward? Or maybe break down the difference between the social awkwardness of runners and cyclists.
Floyd: I don’t know. I haven’t spent nearly as much time around runners obviously, but cyclists– 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
Wejo: You’re one of them too.
Floyd: Well, sort of. [laughs] They 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.
Wejo: Yes. Speaking [of] intelligence, did you go to college?
Wejo: But you wanted to go to Yale law school or business school? Which one did you try to get into?
Floyd: I tried to go to Yale. They didn’t let me in because they said
Wejo: Yale undergrad?
Wejo: Interesting.They should have let you in.
Floyd: Sure, it would have been awesome.
Wejo: You are smart. You’re thoughtful and smart. They want everybody who has a traditional upbringing and has a 4.0, and whatever a 1600 on the SAT and I’m like, “Okay, that’s good, but you have a lot of really smart people, but why don’t we pick people from more diverse backgrounds ?”
Floyd: I understood their argument. The dean of admissions said that they’ve got a lot of people making donations and sometimes they have to leave kids out because they cheated on exams and he’s like, “This doesn’t really exactly overlap with that, but I’m gonna have a hard time making the argument that this wasn’t cheating.” I was like, “Okay. Well, I can’t really argue against it. If that’s your position, then so be it.”
Wejo: They should have hired you to [coach]
Floyd: Yes. [laughs]
Wejo: The cross-country team has not won the Ivy League Championships. It’s called the Heps since 1946 [editor’s note, actually it’s 1942] .
Floyd: Is that right?
Wejo: Since the war.
Floyd: Oh, man.
Wejo: If I had won that in college, I would have never run afterwards. Seriously.
Floyd: They just stopped recruiting for that purpose though, right?
Wejo: No, they keep recruiting and trying hard and doing [poorly].
Wejo: Sorry guys. Not very good, if you’re listening. I could’ve put
Floyd: Go help them.
Wejo: Yes, help them.
Floyd: How was a living up there? New Haven, how was it like?
Wejo: It was great. [crosstalk]
Floyd: I haven’t been up there in a while. I like it. It’s a cool little town.
Wejo: It gets a bad rep.
Floyd: It didn’t seem that bad to me.
Wejo: All right, we’re still live here on this thing. I’m going to bash Harvard. I shouldn’t but it’s funny. I guess I’m the stereotype. ‘Oh you’re dad went to Yale?” I used to hate it. Actually, my dad did. Damn it.
But I was smart guy and my brother went to Princeton and we’re twins so we [both] have to be smart. If he was smart and I wasn’t, we’d be in trouble. But I feel like there’s a type of kid who goes to Yale. Some kids just want to go to school based on rank and reputation, which is terrible. But if you’re going to pick Yale over some other school, the town isn’t quite as nice. It’s more of a real vibe and that type of person isn’t as quite type A and I gel with them better. Even if just 20% of people at Yale are like that, I feel like it makes a certain vibe for the community.
Floyd: It’s part of the town, right? Like on the campus when you walk out and you’re in the town.
Wejo: Yes, it’s pretty. It’s real. I feel like it’s more real world. My twin brother went to Princeton. It’s beautiful, but it’s like a fake little country club. It’s out in the hills and very nice.
Floyd: It is pretty over there.
Wejo: All right. Well, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Floyd: Yes, absolutely.
Wejo: You give me way too much time.
Floyd: No. It was good.
Wejo: All right. Thank you.