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Former pros Floyd Landis and David Zabriskie launch hemp oil product in Portland

Posted by on July 20th, 2017 at 10:55 am

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David Zabriskie (left) and Floyd Landis.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

It takes moxie for someone whose name is closely associated with a controversial drug use to make his comeback drafting off a product derived from a controversial drug.

That was my thought when I heard former professional bike racer and Tour de France winner Floyd Landis would come to Portland to launch his new product, Floyd’s of Leadville CBD Hemp Oil. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is derived from the stalk and seed of cannabis (hemp) plants. It’s non-psychotropic so it won’t get you high, it’s categorized as a dietary supplement and it’s considered a more natural alternative to ibuprofen.

I can say Landis is no stranger to drug use and not even mention his positive urine sample that stripped him of that 2006 Tour de France crown — just four days after he celebrated it on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. That’s because he broke his hip during a training ride in 2003 and turned to opioids to escape the pain. Three years later, after achieving the biggest victory of his life only to be labeled a “doper” and ultimately thrown out of the sport he loved, Landis used the drugs to escape reality. He eventually switched to marijuana, a move that might have not only saved his life, but could help him create a new one.

Now 41, Landis is ready to re-enter the public eye as CEO of a company he founded last year in marijuana-friendly Colorado with former teammate and friend David Zabriskie.

Both of them spent a few days in Portland this week to launch the product at River City Bicycles (a well-known local shop whose owner, Dave Guettler, is a marijuana advocate).

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Landis squints through the pain as he grinds out the Tilikum Bridge climb.
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Zabriskie showing off his world-beating time-trial form.
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Floyd’s of Leadville CBD Hemp Oil comes in the standard white bottle. 30 pills will set you back about $50. It’s marketed as a general wellness product to be taken daily as an anti-inflammatory and to help your body recover after hard workouts. “If you’re drinking beer or drinking wine after a ride and you need to wake up early the next morning, that can be difficult,” company spokesman Scott Thompson told me yesterday. “But with the CBD product, you wake up the next morning and you feel great.”

Zabriskie, whom I found nearly impossible to tell whether he was being serious or not, put it this way. “They’re non-addictive, but people will get addicted because they work so well.”

Keep in mind, despite the thoughts bouncing around your head about Landis’ past, these pills won’t make you faster. In fact, there’s nothing bike-specific about them, except for their cycling superstar founders.

During an interview yesterday, Landis shared how his past experience with marijuana influenced where he’s at today. “I’ve seen what it does for other people and I like it for myself to deal with my hip which still hurts from time to time.” Landis railed against people who are suspicious of marijuana. “Almost everything people believe about it was entirely fabricated propaganda,” he said, “There’s no such thing as ‘reefer madness’… Yes you can abuse it, but you can abuse anything. It just has so many benefits that to focus on the few people that take it too far is just foolish.”

“I don’t need any kind of hero’s welcome coming back. I don’t really care. We sell something I know is good and it helps people. At the end of the day, if cycling wants to embrace us that’s fine; if they don’t want to embrace us, that’s fine too.”
— Floyd Landis

Landis, who grew up with strict parents as a Mennonite in rural Pennsylvania where there was no alcohol, drugs, or caffeine, said, “Even my mom, whose friend had cancer and it [marijuana] changed her life, has come around.”

“I think all cyclists can benefit from it [the CBD pills],” he continued. “You ride for five or six hours and — unless you’re under 35 — you ache. Something hurts and this fixes it.”

What about the segment of serious cyclists who will see hemp oil pills, especially when sold by a former “doper”, as being untoward?

“The guys that want to complain and say that cycling is all about eating salad and being as pure-as-the-driven-snow, then whatever,” Landis answered. “They can go about their business and the rest of us will be happy.”

During our short ride yesterday, Landis and Zabriskie seemed quite happy and at peace with the past. Mostly. While Landis was gregarious and quick with jokes and laughs, I could still hear and feel that what he’s been through isn’t that far below the surface.

When I brought up how ironic it would be if Floyd’s of Leadville sponsored a team, he laughed a bit and then said, “I’d sponsor a race or a team,” and then he continued, staring into the distance. “It’s been long enough for me now that it feels like a movie at this point the way it all went down for those few years… It’s like I have PTSD or something. I know it all happened but I don’t really feel it… there were some bad days for a while.”

So, is this product some sort of redemption for you? I asked.

“No, it’s not really about redemption,” he replied. “I’ve said my piece. I’ve told everybody what happened. They can either try and understand it and accept it, or make a judgment about it. Honestly for the most part, I think people see it for what it is now and that’s good enough for me. I don’t need any kind of hero’s welcome coming back. I don’t really care. We sell something I know is good and it helps people. At the end of the day, if cycling wants to embrace us that’s fine; if they don’t want to embrace us, that’s fine too.”

You can find Floyd’s of Leadville CBD Hemp Oil at River City Bicycles (706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) or online at FloydsofLeadville.com.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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53 Comments
  • Adam
    Adam July 20, 2017 at 11:14 am

    30 pills will set you back about $50.

    $1.67 per pill?? Yeahhhh, I’ll be sticking to ibuprofin thank you very much.

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    • John Lascurettes July 20, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      It’s less than a beer and it’s less toxic to your system with regular use than either alcohol or ibuprofen. While ibuprofen is far less toxic than acetaminophen (Tylenol), it can still be hard on your stomach lining with long-term, regular use. Nor should ibuprofen be taken by people with heart disease. So, for some, that $1.67 per pill after a hard training day might be an excellent alternative.

      http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/ibuprofen

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      • Adam
        Adam July 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm

        Sure it’s less than a beer, but does it taste as good? 😉

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        • BradWagon July 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

          If we’re being honest… does beer even taste that good?

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          • Alan 1.0 July 20, 2017 at 4:19 pm

            Yes! But the pills are less filling.

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          • Mossby Pomegranate July 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

            If you are calling PBR “beer” than no it does not.

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      • Chris I July 20, 2017 at 3:26 pm

        Where are you people buying your beer? I rarely pay over $1.50 per bottle when I buy cases, and I make my own for about $.30 per 12oz pour. You can’t compare pub prices to over the counter drugs that you consume at home.

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        • BB July 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm

          Your costco beer has a pretty high rate of skunk due to massive temperature fluctuations during distribution. Not worth it at any price.

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        • Slammy July 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm

          kind brews are $12 for a 4-pack of 16 oz cans.

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      • Joseph E July 20, 2017 at 4:40 pm

        Acetaminophen isn’t toxic at low doses. It’s very dangerous for your liver if you take an large overdose, but health people can take 6 pills a day without problems.

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    • Chris I July 20, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      I’m not going to take training or drug advice from a disgraced cheater.

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      • BradWagon July 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm

        Well good thing he is just offering you a product then.

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        • Chris I July 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm

          “I think all cyclists can benefit from it [the CBD pills],” he continued. “You ride for five or six hours and — unless you’re under 35 — you ache. Something hurts and this fixes it.”

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          • BradWagon July 20, 2017 at 4:01 pm

            Ah yes, the sage training advice of “If you are old and ride 5 to 6 hours your gonna be sore”.

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          • wsbob July 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm

            Landis isn’t quoted saying it, but the following seemed funny to me:

            “…“If you’re drinking beer or drinking wine after a ride and you need to wake up early the next morning, that can be difficult,” company spokesman Scott Thompson told me yesterday. “But with the CBD product, you wake up the next morning and you feel great.” …” bikeportland

            Thompson didn’t mean to say, did he, that taking the product, helps get over a hangover from drinking the night before?

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      • MR July 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm

        So bitter. Did you lose money on him being DQ’d or something?

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      • Pete July 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm

        David Z came and spoke to my tri coach friend’s clients, and he is extremely knowledgeable. Anyone who competes at the pro level – whether they cheat or not – has lots of valuable experience with diets and supplements. Competitors are also data-driven, so they know what affects their heart rates, recovery, and pain and energy management, usually with the help of coaches’ eyes on their data as well.

        BTW, check out the new movie “Tour de Pharmacy”…

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    • Todd Hudson July 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      No kidding. I take two ibuprofen a day for tendon and joint maladies. I’m not going to spend $100 a month on a novelty product when there’s already something that’s a lot cheaper and proven to work.

      And yes, CBDs are way over-hyped in terms of efficacy over NSAIDs. A CBD pen won’t touch my chronic trigger finger whereas Advil allows me to actually do things with my right hand like grab brake levers and type pedantic stuff on inane internet comment boards.

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      • pengo July 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm

        Weird, cuz I know several people who have found cbd products more effective and/or easier on the stomach than nsaids. It’s almost as if different medications work for different people.

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        • John Lascurettes July 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm

          It’s almost like people are different from one another. Hmm.

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          • Pete July 21, 2017 at 4:44 pm

            My wife is a surgical nurse and we were just talking about Ibuprofin. I do hit it from time to time when I’m particularly sore but try to stay away from it. She and the surgeons say they can tell who uses it when they are poking around inside the gut – she’s no stranger to anything pharmaceutical but has reduced her use of it radically since starting this job.

            (I take low-dose aspirin daily for a-fib on the advice of my cardiologist; also use PowerBar beta-alinine tablets, L-Glutamine, CoQ-10, and magnesium citrate… placebo? Who knows).

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    • Middle of the Road Guy July 20, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      And yet some folks happily throw down $5-6 for a pint of beer. silly for you is fine for others.

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  • Dave July 20, 2017 at 11:44 am

    As a many years ago stoner and child of the 70’s, the whole medical reefer field is like one long comic routine to me–that it’s two doping-disgraced ex pros in the business is something Cheech and Chong couldn’t make up! Seriously, I wish them well!

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    • BB July 20, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Dave’s not here man!

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  • Champs July 20, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Does anyone have anecdotal support for CBD and recovery? I’m still doing fine with a beer and some time with a foam roller.

    We’re a decade removed from Postal and it seems like everybody is getting another act. Here are Landis and Zabriskie, Armstrong has a popular podcast, and for all we know Bruyneel is launching his own brewery in Belgium.

    Speaking of second acts, I think this is the third for Landis. At this point the PEDs and confessions are less interesting to me than when he got into NASCAR. He should have known what Andy Kaufman, Bob Mould, and Billy Corgan knew: bizarre career stints are supposed to be in professional wrestling.

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    • John Lascurettes July 20, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      You’re only going to be able to get anecdotal info for the most part since the FDA still has cannabinoids on the Schedule 1 table — which keeps rigorous scientific study at near non-existent. Still, there’s lots of informal observation and study information out there. https://brfoundersblog.com/blogs/cannabis/what-is-cbd-how-cannabis-aids-athletic-recovery

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      • Alan 1.0 July 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        A pop-up for “WIN THE ULTIMATE ALL IN ONE SMOKING KIT” colors my read of that piece, but thank you, it offers interesting insights. So does https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabidiol .

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      • soren July 20, 2017 at 6:46 pm

        (1) The DEA schedules substances.
        (2) The use of CBD as an anti-psychotic, anxiolytic, and epilepsy treatment is under investigation in multiple clinical trials.

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    • Adam
      Adam July 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      CBD definitely has promise for helping with various degrees of pain management or mental illness. However, we definitely need more research on this, and it’s unlikely to be a cure-all for anything. You should probably just stick to the tried-and-true NSAID’s.

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      • VRU July 20, 2017 at 8:22 pm

        All preclinical drugs have promise until they are subjected to randomized control clinical trials.

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    • dan July 20, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      My dog takes hemp oil and it helps his chronic arthritis pain: he does not worry at the sore spots like he does when not medicated. NSAIDs were also effective, but tore up his gut when he was getting them every day, and scooping bloody dog poop is no way to live.

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    • Pete S. July 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      My anecdotal experience:

      I use a vape pen with a strain of cannabis oil that has a 1:1 thc to cbd ratio. I take a few puffs off it when I get home from work most days. The effects of the CBD tends to mute those of the THC, so it feels about like I’ve had a glass of wine or two.

      For what it’s worth, I am not a person who really likes the feeling of THC. It tends to make me anxious but a low THC strain works well for me.

      In the 3 months since discovering this strain in particular, I have noticed a definite improvement in my general level of aches and pains through out the day, both from cycling (I usually spend around 15 hours/week on a bike) and sitting at a desk all day. I used to take 8 ibuprofen pills per day, which is not great for the stomach. Now I rarely take it at all.

      Cost for a cartridge is around $40 from a dispensary and lasts about 6 weeks.

      Your mileage may vary, of course. I recommend you get out there and find what works for you. That is until Jeff Sessions brings the whole thing crashing down…

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    • wsbob July 21, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      On this stuff, anecdotal evidence is good enough for me. I don’t smoke or otherwise ingest pot, but I’ve known and been around and have read the impressions of plenty of people that have. That, and what I’ve observed first hand, leaves me comfortable accepting that if they say it helps them and allows them to feel better, especially where other things, including prescriptions, don’t…it probably does.

      I don’t see pot, or this derivation of it being bad, except for the clowns that have got to overdo everything until they explode or implode into major stupidity, like that character that got supremely baked, was driving a car and ran into someone riding a bike.

      It was told to me by a friend, that someone we both know fairly closely, takes marijuana…in baked goods, maybe other ways too. In moderation, I’d imagine. Very much doubt they’re abusers. I didn’t press for details. I know one obvious reason they might have started using it: therapeutic, relief from cancer treatment. Nicest people you could ever know, the type of people many would least expect to be taking pot. Lots of people remain scared of the stuff, I think. Fear of addiction, the stepping stone cycle. From families having had problems with alcoholism, and other problems, emotional, psychological, and other drugs, I can respect that they are afraid.

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  • ed July 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Fabuous Jonathan; this is the kind of unique and inspired coverage that earns you best Portland blog repeatedly. Contemplating this piece does bring up a number of things and you cover them well.

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  • Matt Meskill July 20, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Why the quotation marks around the word doper?

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    • Slammy July 20, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      I think it’s two-fold… one is, it’s a pun. two is, “doper” doesn’t really mean anything. Eddy Merckx took a lot of amphetamines, Floyd Landis smeared Testosterone on his chest. Lance and Floyd and David took EPO… Lance and Floyd did homologous blood transfusions… What’s the “dope”, and what is “doping”?

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      • Matt Meskill July 20, 2017 at 2:06 pm

        The thing that really gets under my skin is that Landis sold so many copies of his book to defend himself. To me, that’s fraudulent behavior. How has the guy not been accused, tried, and convicted of fraud? I actually don’t really mind the doping – it’s the profiteering off the lies.

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    • Chris I July 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Probably because “doper” isn’t a word. Cheater, fraud, etc would probably work better.

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      • Alan 1.0 July 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        MW and OED say it’s a dope word.

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  • JeffS July 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    CBD oil isn’t a new thing. I don’t need two cheaters trying to sell it to me in a bike shop. It’s an odd business decision by River City. Then again, I would never have expected so many outlets to provide them with free advertising for the event, so what do I know.

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  • soren July 20, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    i favor decriminalization of all scheduled drugs but this piece makes several incorrect statements.

    (1) oils containing CBD cannot be marketed as dietary supplements: https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm421168.htm#enforcement_action

    (2) there is good evidence that CBD is a psychotropic drug (e.g. a drug that affects mood, mental state, or behavior): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26341731

    (3) there is no evidence that this particular “oil” has clinical efficacy (the placebo effect is strong).

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    • wsbob July 21, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      “…(3) there is no evidence that this particular “oil” has clinical efficacy (the placebo effect is strong).”. soren

      a-h-h…’the science’. If some substance is not scientifically proven to help ease pain, or allow people to relax, then people’s impression that in the opinion of the people taking the stuff, it does, that must just be their inspired imagination. I guess that’s ok

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  • Nuovorecord July 20, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Landis is not a TdF winner.

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    • Dan A July 20, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      “former professional bike racer and Tour de France winner”

      is read as:

      former (professional bike racer and Tour de France winner)

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  • Kyle Banerjee July 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    “I don’t need any kind of hero’s welcome coming back.”

    Good thing. I didn’t realize that was even remotely possible. Trading off questionable celebrity like this is just sad.

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  • meh July 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Floyd may have turned to opioids, but his loss of the yellow jersey had nothing to do with opioids and everything to do with synthetic testosterone. I’m quite sure synthetic testosterone has nothing to do with the treatment of pain.

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    • Kyle Banerjee July 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      And the damage he did to cycling goes well beyond the testosterone use. There was plenty that needed to be fixed, but his role is particularly negative

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      • DIMcyclist July 22, 2017 at 12:32 am

        Indeed, Landis- and many, many others. If I recall correctly, when they struck the win records in the wake of Operación Puerto, they couldn’t find anyone within the top 20 finishers on any of the struck Tours who wasn’t doping.

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  • Doug July 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Lead photo could be Don Henley and Glen Frey.

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    • DIMcyclist July 22, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Maybe someone should get them all together for a high Times cover photo. Or a Grand Fond: the Tour de High. Or a new spring classic: the Amsterdam-Kingston-Amsterdam.

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