POL TARRÉS ON BECOMING HIMSELF
Words by Tina Torelli | Photography by Javi Echevarri
This is the intimate portrait of Pol Tarrés, bike whisperer and insanely skilled visionary on the motorcycle scene. Like any artist, as he defines himself, the 29-year-old official Yamaha rider from Spain is here to disturb the peace. His heavy-duty art is like a roaring lion perched on a rock – loud, free and self-confident.
It’s a Friday morning, and Tarrés has just finished his first workout of the day. Too disciplined for this world (his own words), he wakes up at dawn, puts his sneakers on no matter what and goes out on his artistic hunt.
“It’s this need to create and to express myself. Instead of paint and a brush, I use my body and my bike. It’s who I am, and this gift is what I was born with,” says Tarrés, fresh and radiant after his morning run.
He likes to find inspiration in nature, tapping into its whispers, textures and shapes. “When I go for a run, I intentionally take new trails, because it’s like opening a portal to let new ideas flow in. I have the ability to see jumps and tricks where there are rocks, trees, rivers and walls. I am obviously inspired by BMX, only I’m dancing over the terrain on a 450-pound motorcycle. I’m basically mapping the world of adventure bikes through the lens of a BMX rider, and that’s what makes me happy.”
Besides redefining what is possible in riding, physics and human potential, Tarrés is simply living his life. “Who am I? I am a simple guy. Most of the time I am just training, riding and playing princesses with my daughter,” he explains … almost seriously.
Tarrés doesn’t mind opening up about all things good and bad. The story about how he became himself and his classical hero’s journey with all the bestselling ingredients. It’s a story about freedom, beauty, perseverance, patience, hard work and sacrifice.
So, let’s go back to 1993. On September 29, a boy with his fate already carved in stone was born. His father, Francesc Tarrés, competed in trials riding, and so did his uncle Jordi Tarrés, seven-time world champion. Pol successfully toed the family line until 2016, when he quit trials. He was hungry for greater challenges, and his soul called him to extreme enduro and super enduro, where he would create his own universe.
Saying goodbye to trials was unexpected, and it would take another six years to show everybody exactly why he did it. Today he’s a famous and well-respected rider, but nobody on the outside knows the battle for freedom he fought behind the scenes. Not against an outside enemy, but worse – he had to endure doubts, judgments, accusations and persuasion from his own circle.
“Imagine a lion raised as a circus animal, trained to perform tricks. The lion might be the king of the circus, yet what he really wanted to be the king of the jungle,” Tarrés says. “A lion wants to hunt, to attack, to rest and sleep. A lion wants to be FREE.”
He continues, “It sounds harsh, but I felt like a circus lion in a cage. Of course, I was making good money. Many people wanted my life, but not me, I didn’t want it, because the tag on my cage said how much money I should win, and how I should do it. I did win a lot, but when you are a circus animal, winning doesn’t make you happy.”
He adds that when he was in this situation, there was no feeling of fulfillment, because he wasn’t achieving his goals. “My uncle is a legend of the sport with all he did for trials, and all his titles, and it was all on me to carry the torch,” Tarrés says. “At one point, I had no choice but to stand up against 95 percent of the trials world. I was lucky enough to have fellow rider Toni Bou on my side. Toni understood immediately that I had to leave so I could pursue what I am doing today.”
Tarrés’ evolution started as all evolutions do: in the muddy waters of a revolution. Rewriting your own story is a dirty job, but he had to do it anyway. “There’s one important thing I’d like to add,” he shares. “I left trial with immense gratitude. This difficult discipline formed my character, honed my technique, taught me sacrifice and gave me the tools for my art. Trials was the university I attended for many years, but then I chose a different career. It happens to a lot of people, after all.”
The master of badass riding with the body proportions of a Spartan warrior is surely not meant to follow anyone else’s path but his own, and blazing his own trail brought him satisfaction beyond his wildest imagination. Tarrés was now ready to express the unimaginable. To make the impossible, possible.
The visionary team he cofounded, Trece Racing Society, came together in the name of this possibility. Trece Racing Society is a gang of doers and free-spirited individuals who like to be challenged while serving beauty to the world. It’s the creative force behind all the wild projects that Tarrés is in evolved in, from traveling the globe to creating inspiring films, setting world records or competing in ground-breaking events.
It’s not easy to explain how this family lives and breathes, but Tarrés gives it a try. “When I’m with the guys, it’s like entering into our own little world and it gives me a whole new level of confidence. In the end, I am able to do these extraordinary things because I trust completely in myself and my team. If the idea sounds too crazy, we do it anyway. If we want to set a new world record, the only question is how.”
Tarrés is a hunter of crazy new ideas, but it’s also true that these crazy ideas are hunting him. “If I can see it with my mind, a trick, a jump or a mission, I know it can be done. If something pops into my head and won’t let me go, I intuitively know it’s possible. It feels like the idea belongs to me. Everything you see on my YouTube or Instagram is something I felt beforehand, and it was this undeniable feeling that made me overcome people’s comments. ‘What do you want to prove?’ Nothing, calm down, nothing. ‘You’ll kill yourself!’ People think I’m crazy and it’s simply not true. I am mentally balanced,” he smiles.
Life flows when you move according to its energy. “If something gives me good vibes, it’s a green light for me,” says Tarrés, making a gesture of touching the throttle impatiently. It’s easy to imagine him standing at the traffic lights with his eyes closed, centered and perfectly present. Red, yellow, green … and he launches the mission, unconditionally backed up by his team. But what is really behind all these gigantic achievements, on the mental side of the game?
“Sacrifice, patience and willingness to feel pain,” he offers. “People see me traveling the world to do some tricks. Surprise, surprise – that’s the same Pol who gets up at six every day and goes for a run. Still the same Pol that works an entire month on one ten-second trick. But the moment I can finally jump, it’s just glorious!”
Only a great team with the same dedication and values can create great things. Tarrés explains: “This is how Trece Racing Society began. On a sunny day, a guy named Javi Echevarría called me and proposed a commercial spot for Mango, where I would be wearing a suit and riding a motorcycle. I’ve done many commercials but never actually had fun while doing them. There was an unusual chemistry, so we decide to meet again and share ideas. Echevarría eventually became the team manager and creative director of Trece Racing Society, and eventually more people joined, and we become a family.”
Trece Racing Society went from “Hello, let’s fund a team and do some fun shit together” to a full-on brand in no time. But where is the road taking him? “I have no idea. I just know there’s no end. I will continue pushing my bike’s limits and mine. There are race results to improve, new tricks to invent, and many more exciting stories to tell.”
What could be better than doing what you love most in the world while collecting all these extreme adventures with your friends? “Nothing,” Tarrés says. “Every time we achieve something, I look back seven years and give myself a high-five. On a flight back home from a race or an expedition, I say to myself: ‘I’m doing what I felt I had to do. Isn’t that amazing?’ I know who I am, I set my own goals and I work harder than ever before.”
He adds, “In most of our projects, I get to the point where I’ve reached all sorts of my limits. Let’s say I am pushing up the wall of a mountain with no tire left; it’s freaking cold and there’s no oxygen. Or I am sinking into the sea of dunes at 120 degrees, watching other riders passing by. The moment of despair could easily break me, but instead I surrender to it, I don’t fight it.
“I think the human body is very intelligent and practically limitless, but it’s the mind who’s in control. It’s only when you connect everything – the mind, body and soul – that you can win. Being whole, that’s my biggest secret. I am not ashamed to say that I worked for years with psychologists, and that changed my life. You have to leave your pride at home sometimes. You get stronger physically, stronger technically, and you have to become stronger mentally to balance this out. We’re all just human.”
Tarrés knows how to prevent those frequent trips to the hospital: He sweats more in training and bleeds less in battle. “I owe it to myself and to the people who believe in me to work hard. I need to be super fit. Wake me up at midnight, I am ready to ride.”
Freedom doesn’t always mean lying on the beach with a cocktail in your hard. It’s hard work. “I know why I do it,” he says. “I appreciate every second I can enjoy my freedom and doing what I love.”
Roaring on his rock, wild and free.