catskills

If you make it to the Catskills, make sure to stop into the Phoenicia Diner, which is potentially the prettiest diner I’ve ever been to, and it makes sense, it’s owner, Mike Coffi has spent his career building sets for movies and TV. Always lovely and always delicious and always on my list when I ramble upstate.  

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VISUAL CONTRADICTIONS - Saugerties, New York

Set in the hill slopes of the headland formed by the confluence of Esopus Creek and the Hudson River, SAUGERTIES (Dutch, sawyer’s town), 45 m. (100 alt.,3,918 pop.), is an attractive village of Colonial, Greek Revival, and white frame homes with deep lawns, fences, and flagstone walks. Factories turning out paper, leather, and canvas do not mar the pleasing picture.  -New York: A Guide to The Empire State (WPA, 1940)

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The village of Saugerties is still filled with picturesque homes, many of them stone and brick historical homes built in the 18th and 19th century, but like so many smaller American towns there are very few factories and industries left.  The village itself sits on the Hudson River and is relatively quaint and suburban in appearance, but the Town of Saugerties is more spread out and has a decidedly rural character, with several smaller farms, vacation homes and remnants of a declining industrial past.  I lived on and off in the more rural areas of the town for several years, and continue to travel through the area on a weekly basis.  I am always captivated by the visual contradictions I encounter that reflect a range of failed human endeavors surrounded by the natural beauty and idyllic light of the Catskills.

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Dave Hebb is a visual artist and educator working primarily with photography and video. He lives and works in the Catskill region of New York State, which often serves as the background and subject for his investigation of the landscape as personal metaphor. His work explores the relationship between the individual and the natural environment as mediated through memory, technology and post-industrial infrastructure. His work has been exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally in select venues across Europe.  His work can be seen on his website at davehebb.com as well as Tumblr, Flickr and Instagram .

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I’ve been in the freelance world for 6 years now; pretty much ever since I got out of school. I couldn’t tell you the last time I held a 9-5 job. Now stay with me here. Cycling is remarkably similar to being freelance. 

I’d venture to say about 75% of my “job” is stuff that is not glamorous at all. Emails, phone calls, meetings, networking, etc. You know, just mundane…stuff. When I tell people I work in the advertising photo world they assume it’s all fun and games, traveling and shooting models. While that does happen, it never would without putting in all the work in the first place to make it happen. 

The same goes for cycling. You can’t just rock up to a race without having put in a solid winters’ worth of training and expect to get results. Most of the “work” is done alone in the deep, arctic winter we had this year in NYC. I didn’t want to go do that 4 hour endurance ride in 25° weather any more that I wanted to have that pre-pro meeting. The daily washing of the bike to keep the salt, grit and grime from ruining it was no more enjoyable than sitting in front of my computer emailing all day. Without all the emails, I’d be struggling for jobs. Without all the training, I’d be struggling for results. 

Now with that said, it doesn’t have to be all work no play. I’ve said from the day I started riding competitively that if I’m not having fun riding, I wouldn’t be doing it. 

With the road season just about in full swing here, we headed upstate to the Catskills for one last weekend of riding, eating, stories and team bonding. It didn’t disappoint. We practiced getting organized to chase down solo breakaways. We climbed 20%+ grades. We cooked super tasty meals. We got snowed on, again. We shared stories over beers. But mostly we shared good times. 

Here’s to putting in the work when no one else is watching. 

Here’s to a great 2015 season.


 -Pino