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The Mennonite Who Won the Tour de France

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2024 3:00 am

The Mennonite Who Won the Tour de France

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 15, 2024 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Floyd Landis grew up in Farmersville, Pennsylvania, in a Mennonite family. Like the Amish, some Mennonites avoid modern technology. Though his family had electricity, there was no radio or television to occupy young Landis’s time. So he rode his bike. Here's Floyd to share his story!

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We have the side-by-side action and last lap passes for the win, photo finishes, Ryan Blaney will win, the voice of NASCAR, the motor racing network. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, a show where America is the star and the American people. To search for the Our American Stories podcast, go to the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Floyd Landis grew up in Farmersville, Pennsylvania in a Mennonite family. Like the Amish, some Mennonites avoid modern technology.

Though his family had electricity, there was no radio or television to occupy young Landis' time. So he rode his bike. Let's take a listen to the story.

My name is Floyd Landis. I grew up as a Mennonite kid in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, through a bunch of strange twists and turns in life, ended up winning the Tour de France, but that's the end of the story. Where it all started was as kind of a naive kid in a religious community that doesn't really embrace professional sports or encourage professional sports. Most people know about the Amish, the Mennonites and the Amish share a lot of the same beliefs and sort of conservative, hard work approach to life.

And so, yeah, the first, I guess 20 years of my life, I don't think I missed a Sunday of church, Sunday night of church, often Wednesday night, Saturday night. They spend a lot of time at church. That's the center of the community and the center of the... It's more than a religion. It's kind of its own little environment, its own little society, right? And they're good people. They take care of each other. They value things that I think most people would value, which is caring about other people and honesty and hard work and just living a good life. They, of course, tie it to the Bible and to religion, but they don't allow televisions or radios. They don't like rock and roll music.

Of course, that's the devil. Some of the things that I sort of took for granted as just the way things are ended up seeming odd when I left Pennsylvania. For example, they really like hunting in Pennsylvania. And I enjoyed it as a kid growing up too, just being outside. And it's one of the things that there was to do. We didn't have video games to shoot things on, so we had actual guns. And so my dad being kind of resourceful thought at one point we should go squirrel hunting and rather than walk around in the woods, we should just sit in a canoe and float down the river. And this was very effective. It turns out the squirrels can't hear you coming and you end up not having to hunt very long before you have way more squirrels than you want. But he loved it. So that was my dad's sort of approach to things.

He's always trying to find some kind of efficiency, which kind of ruined the point, which was to be outside and walk around. Even now, you'll see in the fall time when deer hunting season is open, you'll see Amish and Mennonite guys on their bicycles with either a bow and arrow or a shotgun across their handlebars. And then they'll leave, you know, four or five in the morning before the sun comes up and they'll come back with the deer on the back on the rack on the back of their bike and their gun or bow and arrow on the front. And to me, as a kid, that seemed like something normal that people would do, but I found out later that that's not necessarily how the rest of the world goes about their life.

With that backdrop, we're kind of just religious rednecks or whatever you want to call us. But good people. My parents are wonderful. I couldn't ask for better role models or better parents and, you know, I didn't at the time appreciate it. I didn't resent them, but I didn't appreciate the value of the life that they chose to live, which is quieter and a lot less stressful than what I ended up having to live through in my life.

But they're good. And I, you know, after all these years, I spend time with them now a lot more than I used to and sort of appreciate it more. But for whatever reason, my parents sent me to a public school. For me, the public school was all right, actually.

I liked it. And I think in the end, my parents probably blame that to some extent for for the fact that I left in the end. They sent my younger sisters and brother to Mennonite schools. But it was yeah, it was a for me, it was a bit of a learning curve because I didn't we didn't have a television. We didn't have any sort of exposure to popular culture. And so it's hard when you're a kid that gets sent to a public school where everyone's got a whole different whole different experience in life, really. The things they talk about were completely foreign to me. Everything was kind of I always felt like I was a step behind and try to figure out what was what was actually happening or why people were doing what they were doing. I think that's why I enjoyed riding my bicycle because it was kind of therapy for me after school. I could go try to reconcile in my head what I was being told as a kid in church and when I was being exposed to in school. And just to give an example of how strange, I guess strange is a good word to use. And none of these words that I use to describe the Amish in the Mennonite or the place I grew up are meant to be pejoratives or judgmental, just it really is a strange place.

The other thing that's kind of unique about that place, there's a lot of auction houses. My dad would always spend his day out there trying to find treasures for cheap. And so he found me a yellow bike up there in the dumpster one time. I don't know how old I was.

It must have been four or five. That's the first bike I learned to ride. I remember my older sister, a couple of years older than me, pushing me around the driveway trying to figure out how to ride this thing.

But yeah, bicycles were always a big part of it. And it changed over time, though, what the value that it had for me, you know, initially was just to get around and to go go fishing or in my cousin's pool. At one point, my my cousins who lived in kind of a, I don't know, it was a trailer with some appendages built onto it. And I always loved going to their house because even though it's just kind of junk everywhere, they always had cool things like dirt bikes and four wheelers and washing machines in the front yard.

They had an above ground pool and they put they would get fish from the local river and put them in the pool so you could fish in the front yard. So yeah, between fishing and bike riding, that was my kind of my early childhood. I've just enjoyed being outside and doing doing whatever I mean, you don't if you don't have a TV, you don't video games, you don't have things to do and like literally nothing to do inside. So you end up being outside just finding things to do, which is good.

I loved it. I can't say there's anything about my childhood I would change. And you're listening to Floyd Landis and his unique upbringing and why he rode bikes as he said to reconcile what I was learning in church from what I was learning in public schools. Oh, and to get around to to fish and play and to well do things with his time because he couldn't watch TV and had no other modern means of communication. When we come back, more of Floyd Landis's story here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns.

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Here's Floyd. My first job I got was at a grocery store called Oregon Dairy by sophomore, junior and senior year. I had a job working until probably nine at night and then I'd get off and, you know, early on, I'd ride around just to go hang out with my buddies. But after doing a couple of small local races that do this, there was a bike shop in Ephrata, which is a town right where I lived, called Green Mountain Cyclery.

And I got to know the guy, Mike, that ran it. Eric and I would stop in there and hang out and just kind of probably be the annoying kids at the bike shop, trying to get them to work on our bikes for free. He convinced us to do these this race that he was promoting nearby was guess it was 10 miles away or so from where the bike shop was there, probably 15 miles from my house. So I rode out there. It must have been like 1991, maybe I rode out there and it was on a Saturday. So I didn't have to get permission from my parents to try to race on a Sunday. They were completely opposed to that. They weren't I knew better than to even ask.

Eventually, I just ended up doing it anyway, and they weren't particularly happy about it. But this race was on a Saturday. And so I rode out there. I won the race in like the junior beginner category, which probably might have been 10 people in it if either than that. But I felt like, you know, king of the world, like I won this race. And I loved it. I had a feeling of just the race itself and you know, I felt like I was some kind of champion for winning.

And so that kind of got me hooked. I think that was the only race I did that year. But but throughout that winter, I, I spent a lot more time just kind of riding my bike rather than riding for the sake of meeting up with my friends. Instead, we would go try to, you know, get a workout and so we'd ride often late at night after working at the grocery store, sometimes till midnight, one o'clock. I remember my dad being suspect about the whole thing. At one point, I must have been out till I don't know, 1230 or one, and he never stayed out late ever. Because there was no I mean, he just that's not what you do, right?

You go to bed when it's not when it's dark. And he came home about 10 or 15 minutes after me and I was trying to figure out what he was doing. I was like, Dad, where are you?

Where are you going? I finally he couldn't he couldn't lie and got him to admit that he had been following us around just to see what we were doing. Because he was convinced we were out just partying or or who knows what right doing something we shouldn't have been doing. But we really were just riding our bikes around for to him for no reason at all. I mean, to him, it didn't make sense, right? He couldn't he couldn't understand it. My mom seemed more understanding of it.

I don't know that she understood why I was doing it necessarily, but she didn't think there was anything, you know, wrong with it. My dad, on the other hand, just thought it was a complete waste of time, we should be working and doing something useful with our lives rather than riding bikes around. So in hindsight, I guess there's reasons I could have listened to him made my life easier but but but yeah, it's it's addicting riding bikes is addicting. Yeah, I don't know if you don't understand it, you don't understand it.

But if you do, man, there's nothing like it. I remember the first day I got a pair of cycling shorts. I mean, I had never even worn shorts before this because, you know, even even in school and gym class, my my parents in that area, there's there are some midnight kids in the public schools.

And so they'll give you an exemption for for whatever. And so I didn't I wore pants even in gym class or whatever we were doing in school. So I'd never even been outside in shorts before and I put these cycling shorts on and I went like to the woods nearby, I was riding my mountain bike, I went to these trails that I normally ride. And I remember feeling really self conscious about it. There was nobody anywhere around that would have even seen me but I just felt really awkward.

I must have been, I guess, 15 or 16 years old, but I don't know, I felt like kind of exposed just because I wasn't used to it. And on top of that, I've been, you know, kind of taught that you're supposed to be modest and that it's inappropriate to wear shorts, let alone shorts that tight. So it took me a while to actually kind of wear them around around my family because I knew they were going to make some comments about it. My oldest sister, the first time she saw them said something like, I was at the shortest tights they had. And I was like, no, no, these are, I started to try to explain to her that there is a reason for it for cycling. Then I realized that there was no way she was going to be able to make sense of it.

And so I just decided I wasn't even going to talk about it, which led to more mockery of the new wardrobe. I convinced my dad in my senior year in high school, 1993, I guess, to take my buddy Eric and I and another friend of ours named Joel that we were all kind of into riding. I was more into it than the others, but Eric was pretty much into it as well. And so we convinced him to drive out to Traverse City, Michigan for the national championships. But yeah, I ended up winning the cross country race for the junior national title.

Because of that, I qualified for the world championships, which the bicycle racing association actually paid for all of the travel expenses to go to France for the world championships. I had never been even on an airplane. Like I'd never, I had no, I was completely unprepared for, for even going to Michigan.

I mean, that was the furthest I'd ever been from home. And now all of a sudden I was, I had to go get a passport. I had to go try to figure out how this, how I was going to navigate this.

I don't speak French. I don't like, this was all foreign to me. And so when I got there, I, to me at this point, I had kind of had this vision of bicycle racing that was going to be other people that had kind of viewed it like me, like this, they're really obsessed with it and focused on it and this is what they cared about, right? But really what ended up happening, and I understand it now, but I didn't understand at the time, I got there and it was a bunch of juniors who didn't have the same sort of fixation on it that I did. And so they were there to just like drink and have a good time and party and I was completely caught off guard by that. And I mean, I didn't really get very much sleep because the kid, they put us in this, these kids didn't like, they didn't sleep.

I mean, they had, I guess they had jet lag, they decided to stay up and they would be out drinking all night because there's, I mean, in France, you can get alcohol if you're, you know, 17 if you want it. The whole thing was, ended up being kind of traumatic for me because I, I didn't really understand. I wasn't, I had never seen anyone drink alcohol before or partying or any of these things or, well, it was completely foreign to me. Like I just didn't, didn't know what I was observing and was having a real struggle doing it. And so by the time the race came along, I was not in a very good head space to function at all, let alone try to race. I mean, I must have finished three hours behind the winner. I think I finished last and I was just devastated. Like I couldn't, at this point, all I wanted to do was just go home.

The other, the rest of the juniors wanted to just kind of keep partying and go have a good time. And I just didn't want any part of it. I just went back and laid down in my room and didn't talk to anybody until I guess three days later and we went home. But it took me a while and I came back home, I think two or three months, I didn't ride my bike and I kind of decided that wasn't for me. But in the end, after I had a few months off and started riding my bike again and enjoying it, I, yeah, I stuck with it. And had a little bit better understanding what, you know, what I was going to be surrounded by at bike races. And so I just kind of decided it was going to be an adventure at this point.

I'm going to take it, take it as it comes and I'll try to stay focused on the bike race, but there's probably going to be things that I'm going to have to manage in my head. And you're listening to Floyd Landis tell the story of growing up in this very, well, let's just say self-contained environment, going to public school where my goodness, his life changed dramatically and what he saw in life fain dramatically. And then of course this obsession with biking, not just your traditional obsession that most kids have. This one goes beyond to something well, quite special. His father of course, worried that his son was up to no good, followed him around only to find out, well, his son was indeed just, well, just biking and that's it. Not thrilled with that though.

Not of really good use in a Mennonite's mind of well adulthood or adult time or preparation for adulthood. But the father indulges the son in his trip to Paris for the junior world championship where he learns he's thoroughly unprepared in many ways, many, many ways. And he comes home, takes some time off, probably sulking a little bit, just having been beaten by hours on end. And then came the renewal. And when we come back, we're going to learn more about Floyd Landis' story and how he rose from really epic defeat to something else and something better.

The story of Floyd Landis continues here on Our American Stories. Finding the right news podcast can feel like dating. It seems promising until you start listening. When you hit play on Post Reports, you'll get fascinating conversations and sometimes a little fun too. I'm Martine Powers.

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It'll be a match, I promise. We are the voice of NASCAR. The green flag is in the air and we are underway. The great American race, the Motor Racing Network, NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Craftsman Truck Series Racing live on your hometown radio station and MRN or nascar.com. Martinsville, Talladega, the Chicago street course. We have the side-by-side action and last lap passes for the win.

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All you can stream with Zumoplay. And we return to our American stories. We last left off with Floyd Landis coming to terms with the world outside of his very conservative and religious Mennonite Christian community accompanied by his friend, Eric Floyd set out to rise in the world of professional mountain biking. Let's pick up where we last left off. And so Eric and I were together most of the time, but at one point we split up.

He needed to go home back to the East coast. And so he left me in Mammoth, California, there was a race. And so I hitched a ride with these guys.

I can't, I can't remember how I ran into like, we might've been out riding the course or something before the race and ran into these guys who were, who were driving up to the next race in Washington state. And they had this company called show them you're nuts, which was at the time. This was when, um, no fear was kind of the big, you know, brand that was this whole edgy, you know, no fear nonsense, you know, edgy quotes and everything else. And so they thought that it would be cool to make a competing brand called showing your nuts, which was more of a play on words in a couple of different ways, and they actually were nuts. That was the thing.

Oh man. I, I, so we, we left, um, they had a trail, like a pickup truck in the trailer and I sat in the backseat of the pickup and we drove from Mammoth, California out through the desert and like halfway through the desert, I guess it was, we were following this other guy named his name was tattoo glue. He had a van and he had like two pit bulls and he was covered in tattoos and he had his, he kind of lived in his van. So he was driving along with these guys and they stopped in the middle of the desert and just started smoking weed and getting high, like staring at the sky. And I, I, again, now I've never been around any kind of, at this point, alcohol was traumatic for me to witness. So now I'm sitting here thinking, man, these guys, like, hopefully they're not going to get back in their car and just drive. I'm going to like, I'm going to die.

All I know about drugs is what I've been told in school is that we're all going to probably die here. So they sit there and they stare at the sky and they're trying to be philosophical and I'm thinking, man, you guys sound like idiots. But whatever, I'm here for the adventure at this point. So I sit there and kind of kind of just take it all in and they get back in the car and we start driving. So I'm like, all right, well, I'm just going to lay down in the backseat because I guess this is how it ends.

So I just went to sleep and I wake up six, seven hours later and we're, you know, a Southern end of, of Washington state. So we get up there, they had like a booth that they set up in the expo area at the finish of the race. They said, all right, we're going to go down to town and get some dinner. Do you want to come along? And I said, no, I want to, I just, I wanted to ride a lap of the course.

So I don't know why I thought these guys would be reliable, but I figured they would come back up at some point after dinner. And so it got to be about, I mean, I had, I went for a ride and for maybe two hours and it was getting dark and it was getting cold and I'm like, man, I don't know. There was no one else around. Like everyone else had kind of left and it wasn't, some of these races would be at a, at a resort where you'd have lodging around the resort.

This was pretty spread out and there was nothing really anywhere near this expo area they had set up in this parking lot. And so I was getting, I was getting cold and I'm like, well, I'm going to at least have to stay warm. So I took down this power bar banner that they had on their booth and just laid down under it. And I went to sleep. I didn't sleep very well, but I, I didn't, I mean, the time kind of passed. I guess I was half asleep and halfway cause I was really cold and they got back at five in the morning and they were like, man, what are you doing?

What do you mean? What am I doing? You guys left me here. I guess it should have been obvious in hindsight that this wasn't going to go well, but that was the last time I hitched a ride with those particular guys. I occasionally had to hitch rides after that, but I have what it does guys. They were funny.

I'll give them that. And they, I had some good laughs with them, but if I needed to be serious and focus on the race, those were not the guys to be around the following night, I guess the night after the race, it must've been Friday night or even, or even Saturday night. So I stayed the whole weekend and they had the Tour de France on, but it was one that Lance Armstrong won to me was just this mythical thing. Cause I, you know, obviously I knew at that point that the Tour de France was the biggest bike race and the biggest cycling event there was, but I hadn't, I didn't have any experience watching it. I'd never seen it on TV or didn't know much about it, but I just remember seeing it and it having a kind of profound effect on me thinking that it like that, that looks like something where I'd have to deal with, let's show them your nuts, people like at this point, this was my goal. Like I just need to get away from the show them your nuts people to a real professional sport where I can actually focus on what I'm doing.

So I guess I left Pennsylvania and I moved to Southern California. And so a couple of friends and I that were also mountain biking, um, who had done more road racing just said, look, let's put together a small group. We'll do, we'll do a bunch of different races that you can enter as, as independent or not on the team. Cause road racing, depending on the category of the race, sometimes you have to actually be part of a team to be in it. So our goal ended up being just to try to make the races as miserable as we could for the pro guys that are out there just to see if we could get noticed.

Yeah. So I guess in 1997 went to a bunch of these races and I got noticed by team mercury, which was mercury, the car company sponsored at that point. It was probably the biggest, well, the biggest us team that wasn't sort of doing any races in Europe. And so I raced on, on the mercury team for, I guess, 99 in 2000, they, um, in 2001, the team put a bunch of effort into trying to kind of make it to the next level to, to race in, in Europe. And so I guess the first road race I did in Europe was called the tour laven here, which is like, uh, it's run by the tour de France organization. It's a 10 day race that I finished third, but that was kind of where I got noticed for or by the, by the postal service at that time and on this team, I mean, by this time, Lance had won three or four tours and he had a very, very strong team around him. So it wasn't like it was, it was easy for any one of those guys to make the tour team and they were, they were ruthless about it.

They weren't, they weren't, it wasn't about feelings. They just said, we're going to take the best eight guys that we have. So whoever that is, you're, you're on the team. And so the first thing I did with Lance would have been, um, rooted Del Sol or something. Some race they had it in Southern Spain and then, um, then we had a week off and then we went and did the Del Finay, which is a big race that everyone does to kind of prepare for the towards eight day race in France. Um, and because we had Lance on the team, obviously they're, they're looking at Lance to be the leader of this particular race. And so there's opportunities for guys like me to try to go and breakaways and, and, and make the race harder on, on the competition without Lance having to actually try to win. And I got in a good breakaway and I ended up getting the lead in the race and ended up finishing second to Lance who then beat me in the time trial.

So that kind of sealed my tour, you know, qualification. And for that year and probably for much of the next year, I was pretty close to Lance. You know, we, that year between the Rue Del Sol and the Del Finay, he took me back to San Moritz with him and we trained together, um, got me an apartment up there. He had his family up there.

And so we trained for those couple of weeks between, and then we went back after the Del Finay and trained right up to the Tour de France, took a private jet to the start of the tour. It was good. I was, yeah, living like how, how Lance liked to do it, which was, I mean, he had the resources to do it with much less stress than anyone else.

Right. And he did it. He was good at it. And so I had great training. We had, you know, very little stress in those couple of months leading up.

And then the tour went pretty well. It was, it's much, much harder than any other bike race, partly because of the competition that everyone's in shape, right. For that race, because it's the most important race of the year, especially if you're on the, on the team with Armstrong, who was a superstar at this point, even outside of cycling, it comes with all this other, just, just stress of every kind, right.

There's people around all the time. It's hard to sleep, but I was, you know, I was lucky that, that I was on the first time I ever did it, that I was on a team that won because no matter who you are in that race, it's three weeks long. You're going to have days where you're just tired and want to quit. And it's just, it's a lot easier to, to motivate yourself to keep going when you're winning the race. And you've been listening to Floyd Landis and well, he'd been wandering around a bit when you find yourself following a guy named Tattoo Lou into the desert and you find yourself sleeping in the back of the car, hoping the guys pretty much stoned will get you to your destination and maybe you have to have a change of teammates and a change of plans. So he moves to Southern California and gets serious about this thing called biking and ends up of course, biking alongside the great Lance Armstrong. When we come back, more of this life story, this unusual journey from Mennonite, Pennsylvania to the Tour de France here on Our American Stories. The 2024 presidential campaign features two candidates who are very well known to Americans.

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All you can stream with Zumoplay. And we return to our American stories. Let's return to Floyd Landis talking about his time racing in the tour de France with United States postal service teammate, Lance Armstrong. The next year, which would have been 2003, I was training in January and I was riding by myself and I crashed and I broke my hip and it was broken pretty badly, displaced pretty badly and it needed surgery.

And so I missed quite a bit of the spring season that year. Yeah, I made the, I made the team cut there, but I do think that had it been the year before or the year after, I might've actually not made the, made the team and we pulled it off, but man, it was, that was the closest, I think in all of his seven tours that he ever came to, to not winning the race, but he, he pulled it out. I mean, you can say, you can say a lot of things about Lance, but he he's, yeah, he's a bad when it comes to managing stress and as an athlete, he's exceptional. I mean, three weeks is a long, long time, even just in, in ordinary life. But when you're racing your bike a hundred to sometimes 150 miles a day and sometimes through three or four large mountain passes over 120, 130 miles, I mean, some of these stages take seven hours long, just even the winner will be seven hours, but three weeks feels like eternity when you're faced with that.

And one thing you learn is that it's best not to look through the whole Tour de France route book, just look at the stage right in front of you and don't look at what's tomorrow even because it's so hard and so stressful that you can easily intimidate yourself into being scared of, of actually finishing. I had a contract with the team that was expiring in the end of 2004, eventually I just, I wanted to, I mean, I wanted to leave the team. I didn't, I probably would have stayed had they, had they given me any kind of assurance that Lance wasn't going to race another year, but I wanted to, I wanted to race and try to win the race myself. And they, they wouldn't make any public comment or any even internal comment about whether Lance was going to race and try to win seven because he had the record. I mean, five was the record before that. And even only then only one person had won five in a row. He just, yeah, he couldn't help himself.

There was too much money on the line. And so he did it one more year and he won again. Uh, but the problem was that by that time he was kind of, he can be vindictive. So he was pretty bitter about the fact that I didn't stay on the team. So he and the team went out of their way at most of the races that year, just to race against me to the point where sometimes they lost races just to make sure I didn't win.

And so I ended up 10th in the Tour de France that year. For whatever reason, that's how, that's, that's how he motivated himself. He, he was more motivated by making sure someone else lost than him winning, which I never did understand.

And to this day, I don't understand, but it was kind of one of the quirks that he had. And then, yeah, then the next year, 2006 was, I think I left on Tuesday that week and I arrived in Paris on Wednesday and then we started the race on Saturday. Yeah. And I mean, there were some ups and downs in that race, but, but all things considered it went about as well as you could hope for. And it's, yeah, it was hard for me to get my head around because people were fired up. Like I didn't, I couldn't believe it even after I won. Like I was happy.

Right. I just didn't realize that everybody was that, yeah, it's a good memory. But then obviously everybody knows the, what happened next with the whole, the whole doping scandal that ensued and then went through a couple of years of litigation and fighting it and, and lost the title. There were some dark days for me. I didn't, people asked if I would do it again, if I would take drugs again, and I don't know the answer to that. And it's not because I, out of some kind of defiance or anything else, I mean, that's what you had to do to win the race. In the end, I wish I could have just told the truth, but then my, my problem there was, there was no way to tell the truth without exposing the whole thing. And then these are all people that are, were my friends and people that I was around and I was not really in a position to just try to tell that story without looking bitter myself. Right.

That would just look, it would look bad if, if I just decided to admit it and then pointed everyone else. It was good. It was a fight I had to fight. And I guess I should have probably just, I don't know, I guess I should have just vanished for 10 years, but, but I wanted to race again. And the only way to race is to deny it and follow the party line.

Right. There was no way for me to admit that I had done that and ever expect to race again. And I wasn't ready to accept that it was over just like that. Although I should have, because that really was the end of my career, but I wasn't ready to face that. I, I mean, I'd gone from the high point of my career to have him to contemplate never racing again. And I just made whatever decisions I thought would at least give me the ability to possibly come back and race. But the problem was that it was the way it happened and because I had was Armstrong's former teammate.

And because of the spectacle of how I won the race, there was no way that I was ever going to race again. I just wasn't prepared to accept that. So I fought it for a while, a couple of years and in the end probably made it, made it harder to tell the truth. But once I finally had enough time to myself and time to reflect on everything and also time to actually be back out in the world a little bit here and there and have to try to face everybody, every one of them, which would say, you know, we're sorry about what happened to you.

We don't believe any of it. And I just, I realized that there's no way I was going to be able to get through life like this. I couldn't, this wasn't a story that was going to go away. Like I, it wasn't like this was a lie that at some point I could stop telling cause no one's going to ask.

That's just what it was going to be forever and I couldn't manage it. I just didn't, I either had to never talk to anybody again or just tell the truth so I could stop feeling so bad about it. And then I had the dilemma of, well, what, what does the truth mean? Like what am I going to tell? Cause if I, if I just say, well, this is what I did, everyone's going to know there was more to the story than that.

There's no way I invented that. And so I struggled with what to do to the point where I finally just was in such a bad place in my head that I didn't really care what else happened. I just decided I'm just going to tell the truth.

Whatever it is and whatever happens happens. I mean, I knew it was going to be bad. I knew what Lance would do and I knew that I was going to have to defend all kinds of, you know, accusations of he's still lying and whatever else. But to some extent I didn't care. I just wanted to be able to say, here, okay, here's the, here are the facts from now on. People want to come up to me and say they hate me or they love me or whatever.

At least I don't have to just keep lying about it and just tell the truth. And so I basically had to go through it a second time just to, just to get the story out. And I think, you know, a lot of people kind of, probably more people saw that than saw the original bike race itself just because of the magnitude of Lance and what he stood for and to some extent still does stand for me. Some people couldn't separate the idea that he was inspirational because he had cancer from, from any of the rest of the story. And so some of them ended up hating me too. And some of them ended up hating him, which I think is unfortunate. I mean, he's not exactly the nicest guy on earth, but, but he paid a very dear price for the whole thing, probably more so because he is such a fighter, which is what made him admirable in the first place.

So the whole thing is a paradox. But in the, in that period of time, I sort of kind of got my bearings on life and grew up a little bit and five, six years ago started a company. So the name of the company is called Floyd's of Leadville. And we decided to embrace the Leadville name because it's a well-known sort of endurance sports. I don't know, mecca, you could say, but the Floyd's of Leadville brand is primarily promoted as a, as a CBD brand.

We sell it online through, through bike shops and running shops and convenience stores, things like that. The CBD products are generally not psychoactive, like they don't have enough THC in it to be, to cause a change of mental state, but they do have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-anxiety properties to help a lot of people with sleep. It kind of helps you just calm your thoughts, allows you to fall asleep naturally. It helps me, which is why I was able to sort of convince myself that it would be a good idea to put my name on it. I'm not a, not a great salesman if it comes to just selling something for the sake of trying to get the highest price, but, but it was something that really benefited me in those years after, after the whole Tour de France debacle, it helped me manage no pain and anxiety. And so it's, it's a lot easier for me to just tell people, look, this helped me just, just try it.

It's not magic, but it does have, it does have real benefits for a lot of people. And a great job on the production and the storytelling by Greg Hengler and a special thanks to Floyd Landis for sharing his entire story. And my goodness, again, from a small insular community, the Mennonite community to another small insular community, because let's face it, once you start to enter into worlds like that, biking, I know my daughter does equestrian and it's a, it's a small competitive community. And my goodness, what happened with him and with the entire community in terms of doping, they all ended up doing it. And it's no excuse. I often wondered why they all just didn't do it because once one cheats and the next cheats and the next cheats, it's the new norm. So why not just not cheat, but again, talk to anybody who biked during that era and everybody doped because everybody else was doping. And in the end, it caused a period of reflection for him, ultimately not telling the truth war on Floyd more than telling it. And he finally did. He just couldn't keep lying about what he'd done.

And in that period of time, he got his bearings, got a new life, started a new company, something that would help with anxiety, then inflammation. Floyd Landis' story here on Our American Stories. I'm Katja Adler, host of The Global Story. Over the last 25 years, I've covered conflicts in the Middle East, political and economic crises in Europe, drug cartels in Mexico. Now I'm covering the stories behind the news all over the world in conversation with those who break it. Join me Monday to Friday to find out what's happening, why and what it all means.

Follow The Global Story from the BBC wherever you listen to podcasts. We are the voice of NASCAR. The green flag is in the air and we are underway the great American race, the motor racing network, NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Craftsman Truck Series Racing live on your hometown radio station and MRN or nascar.com, Martinsville, Talladega, the Chicago street course. We have the side-by-side action and last lap passes for the win. Photo finishes, Ryan Blaney will win.

The voice of NASCAR, the motor racing network. Zoom or play is your destination for endless entertainment. With a diverse lineup of 350 plus live channels, movies, and full TV series, you'll easily find something to watch right away.

And the best part? It's all free. Live music, get lost in the nineties with I heart nineties, dance away with hip hop beats and more on the I heart radio music channels. No logins, no signups, no accounts, no hassle. So what are you waiting for? Start streaming at play.xumo.com or download from the app and Google play stores today. All you can stream with Xumo play.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-15 04:18:55 / 2024-05-15 04:38:57 / 20

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