High Country: Floyd Landis is back in biking and powered by cannabis
Whenever CDOT decides to open Independence Pass for the season, it’s worth a stop into Landis’ dispensary in Leadville on your way to or from Aspen. In addition to its high-quality, home-grown cannabis flower, the shop stocks its full line of CBD-only products and branded biking swag.
What: Floyd’s of Leadville
Where: 113 E. Seventh St., Leadville, 719-293-2221, floydsofleadville.com
When: Open seven days a week from noon to 8 p.m.
The last time most people remember hearing the name Floyd Landis was likely in 2006 — the year of his notorious Tour de France win and subsequent doping scandal, stripping him of the title. He protested his innocence for four years, finally calling it quits on the fight and the sport of cycling when he came clean with an admission of using synthetic testosterone in 2010.
Suffering from chronic pain throughout most of his professional career and undergoing a hip replacement at age 31, Landis long relied on opioid-based painkillers (which are World Anti-Doping Agency-approved) and often turned to alcohol to help him cope.
Landis, 43, tried cannabis to help him kick his habits, eventually finding his way out of the darkness of chronic pain and rediscovering his enjoyment of life — a journey he ultimately credits to the hemp extract’s therapeutic benefits.
He relocated to Colorado in 2012 and launched Floyd’s of Leadville in 2016, which encompasses a traditional grow and dispensary operation along with a CBD-only line of products targeted toward athletes as a natural recovery supplement.
And now, Landis is aiming to rid even more athletes of post-ride aches and pains with the title sponsorship of Floyd’s Pro Cycling — a team focused on developing the best young talent in North America under the direction of his former teammate Gord Fraser. Based in Canada, Floyd’s Pro Cycling is racing a full schedule of North American road, gravel and mountain bike competitions in 2019 aboard Van Dessel bicycles.
Travis McCabe (USA), Serghei Tvetcov (ROM), Nick Zukowsky (CAN), Keegan Swirbul (USA), Jonathan Clarke (AUS), Carson Miles (CAN), Robin Plamondon (CAN), Alec Cowan (CAN), Noah Granigan (USA), Emile Jean (CAN), Noah Simms (CAN) and Jacob Sitler (USA).
Note: Floyd’s of Leadville has communicated with its Floyd’s Pro Cycling team members that they are under no pressure to use CBD, and that some full-spectrum CBD products still have small traces of THC, which is still a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Using the $1.1 million he received last year from the settlement of the Lance Armstrong whistleblower lawsuit, Landis told VeloNews upon the formation of Floyd’s Pro Cycling, “I wanted to do something with the money. I always felt like there was the perspective out there, and some of it was Lance’s talking points from day one, that the whole purpose of coming clean was about money. … And to me, if that money goes back into cycling, I don’t know, maybe it will give some closure to Lance, as well. I’m sure he has personal feelings about me and that’s always going to stay that way but at the end of the day, if this can bring some closure to that whole episode and actually benefits some young kids at the same time, then that’s some satisfaction.”
After kicking off their season taking podiums at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and winning the Tour de Taiwan earlier this month, I caught up with Landis to talk about getting back into biking and the power of the plant:
Aspen Times Weekly: How did the sponsorship of the cycling team come together and what is your hope this type of exposure achieves?
Floyd Landis: The idea came when I was in the team car with team director Gord Fraser of the Silber Cycling Team during last year’s Tour of Colorado. I still love cycling and so many professional teams were ending last year, this was a great opportunity to give back to the sport.
ATW: Has there been any pushback from event organizers because of its ties to cannabis?
Landis: Actually, it has been the opposite. We’re overwhelmed with invites from organizers, teams and athletes looking for sponsorship.
ATW: Since recreational legalization and the explosion of the CBD space since, how have you seen the stigma shift as to how the professional cycling world views cannabis?
Landis: Cannabis is becoming more accepted by not only athletes, but by the population as a whole. For many athletes CBD is their way back into the game without relying on addicting opioids and the damage they inflict. The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) has realized the benefits of CBD and removed it from their prohibited list, which says a lot. So yes, the perception of cannabis and CBD has dramatically changed in the last five years.
ATW: When and how did you first decide to turn to cannabis for relief? How is it a part of your daily regimen today?
Landis: I needed a hip replacement due to a crash on my bike. As time continued, the nagging pain continued and the doctors prescribed various opioids, which come with their own bad side effects. I was living in Colorado and tried cannabis and then CBD-only — both had positive effects. I was no longer in pain and started to feel like myself. I use CBD everyday in helping me recover from riding and reduce some pain from lingering injuries. I use THC when I want to relax and unwind.
ATW: How did you decide to launch a company of your own?
Landis: I came to the industry as someone with a lot of user experience and realized the benefits of both THC and CBD firsthand. I took that knowledge and with my experience of being a professional athlete, knew what was needed to create our CBD product lineup using Colorado-grown hemp and all tested by an independent, third-party laboratory.
ATW: How does the CBD line complement the THC side of your business?
Landis: They dovetail perfectly. While CBD and cannabis are different, there is some overlap with customers and what they want to experience. We have customers that are professional athletes, Olympic hopefuls and even 90-year-olds that are looking to improve their quality of life. Vastly different groups of people, but they all want the same thing: pain relief and relaxation.
Katie Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia.
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