Pol Tarrés. Menorca (Spain), Camí de Cavalls 360
Given the unexpected world situation, with months of confinement at home and all travel plans canceled, Pol Tarrés, Alex von Arend, Andreu Miró and Eloi Paré decided to go around Menorca by MTB. It is an island that everyone has enjoyed many times but never by bike.
Pol, Alex, Andreu and Eloi, met many years ago practicing bike trials and competing together and being with the Spanish team in several world and trial world cups. Currently only Pol is still active and he is one of the best riders in the world.
The trail they want to do is the Camí de Cavalls, it is an old path that surrounds the island of Menorca. The origin of the path is uncertain, but it is accepted that its function was military: it was a path that the guards used to protect the coast where the soldiers were mounted on horseback, hence the word “cavalls” (which means “horses” in Catalan ) in the name of the road. The road is divided into 20 different sections, each of them between 5 and 14 km and together they cover the entire island with a total of approximately 185 km. It is a long-distance trail that circles the entire island of Menorca passing through its most iconic and paradisiacal coves.
The boys arrive in Menorca on Friday at 7:00 at the Balearia as it is the easiest option. The ferry arrives in Ciutadella, from where they start, you also get on the boat
riding a bike, so you don’t have to take it apart or put it in a suitcase and it is also free with the ticket.
At 9:00 they leave the Camí de Cavalls 360 office, the agency that has helped them design the stages and the entire trip before arriving and once there, logistically with the suitcases, supplies and possible assistance they need.
The first stage is the longest with about 87 km and a little more than 900m of unevenness. A priori it does not seem like much but the terrain is very technical and hard since it is very rocky, in many areas little rolling and at some point you have to load the bike.
The first km to Cap d’Artrutx are very flat and it can ride well although there is still some mud from the week’s rains. They follow the coast overcoming the first obstacles that the road presents, giving a glimpse of what the island of Menorca is made of. After passing through several coves, they arrive at one of the most famous on the island: Macarella. It is surprising that one of the most iconic coves is completely empty. Actually, this is how it is for much of the year.
A few meters later, on one of the descents, Alex cuts the tire with a stone and loses control of the bike and falls into a thicket. Luckily he only takes one hit and Andreu, with McGyver’s own skills, fixes it with a piece of camera and 4 patches. The group resumes the march and between Cala Galdana and Son Bou, they enter the interior of the island, changing the landscapes of turquoise beaches, cliffs and the sea for lush forests, more typical of the north of Spain than of the Balearic Islands , with much more pleasant trails and tracks.
Before reaching Cala en Porter there are quite difficult areas, climbs with steep slopes that are very difficult to overcome on the bike, even taking off your trial skills, still easily overcome by loading the bike. Arrived in Cala en Porter the sun has set a long time ago, it is beginning to get dark and cold. It is time to get ready to get to the Artiem Capri hotel in Maó, have dinner and get the bikes ready for the next day.
According to the design of the stages, the second is the shortest and most affordable with about 49 km and 650 of unevenness, starting at Mao and ending at Ses Salines. It is the shortest and most rolling of the 3 with short and affordable ups and downs. The landscape has already changed, there are no longer white sand beaches and turquoise water, the north of the island is more rocky, so they are stone beaches with shades of gray colors and dark blue water. Always with a lot of contrast.
In this part of the island, the “Camí de Cavalls” crosses the “Parque Natural de s’Albufera des Grau” with a great contrast of landscape, agricultural areas, forests, wetlands and islets on the beaches. The stage profile has short ups and downs with views
spectacular of the beaches and with contrasts of the areas through which it passes. Since time is running out, they decide to take a detour to visit the Far de Favàritx and the rock formations of dark gray and black colors and very little vegetation.
They decide to make a stop in Arenal des Castell before attacking the last km to Ses Salines, where they pass a small part of cliffs and then go into a more wooded area until they reach the hotel.
On the third day, the accumulated fatigue is already beginning to be very noticeable and there is still the hardest day. The last stage is not the longest but it is the hardest, Joan de Camí de Cavalls 360º warns and the numbers cannot be trusted since they are around 60 km and slightly less than 900m of unevenness, a stage that, a priori, It shouldn’t be a problem for any rider with a few kilometers on their back. They recharge at the hotel with a good breakfast as it is not entirely clear if there will be time to eat because the intention is to reach the iconic Pont d’en Gil before the sun sets for the final photo. Before leaving, Joan comments that there is an area that the locals call “Mordor”. Eloi asks him why it is called that, to which Joan answers “Don’t worry, when you get to Mordor you’ll know.”
The first kilometers are very similar to those of the previous day with the difference of the orange and yellow tones of the beaches and the stones of the landscape. They arrive at the famous Pregonda cove, one of the most emblematic of the island and closed by some islets called the Escullar de Pregonda. When they get there, they find golden and reddish colors of the clay. The next part of the stage passes through a very virgin area, and one of the hardest, passing through the fearsome Mordor that Joan commented on. The path is narrow and very broken, with loose stones and hellish slopes. Even with their skill as trialers, the terrain can be so they have to push and at some point even load the bike to overcome the most complicated steps. They reach the highest point of the stage, in which they have passed from 0 to 126 meters in less than 900m with a slope that in some points reached more than 35%.
According to Pol, the last part, from Cala Morell to Pont de’n Gil, was one of the hardest things he has done. Everything has been added a little; the fatigue of the 3 days, it is the most remote and unspoiled part of the road so they could only do a refreshment before reaching Cala Pregonda, they ran out of water, and the terrain of the final part is the most broken, and least wheeler on the island so it requires 100% concentration in addition to a good technical and physical level, any mistake is a fall. In addition, Aitor, one of the cameras, in a very rocky area with stones in the shape of knives makes a cut to the wheel that the tubeless can not close, so they put a couple of wicks to close the hole to continue.
After two hours suffering through this terrain they arrive at the Pont d’en Gil, where the photographers Álvaro and Aitor take advantage of the sunset to take some impressive photos. From there to the center of Ciutadella they pass through Cala en Blanes, all on asphalt and at night until they reach the hotel. They can already say that they are Camí de Cavalls 360º finishers !!
In general, Pol, Alex Andreu and Eloi comment that the route has been technically much more difficult than expected. The terrain is largely rocky, steep and technical and requires a lot of concentration and not letting your guard down at any time, since mistakes are expensive because the falls are usually in areas of sharp stones.
Even so, the views and the places you pass through are a just reward, with constant contrasts, from beaches with turquoise waters, to forests and rural areas, passing through cliffs and unbeatable landscapes.
They also comment that it is important to have good logistics and carefully plan the stages. Being a difficult terrain, there are usually falls and breaks of material, so it is important to go with a minimum of mechanical experience, spare parts and a first-aid kit. In conclusion: Camí de Cavalls is a demanding route for those who want to enjoy the best views and paths on the island of Menorca. They recommend doing it with double XC bikes with rolling tires but with some stud and above all with a maximum 60 tpi or with side protection since otherwise there will be punctures every two by three.
Back home on the ferry, they talk about what the next adventure could be, Mallorca? Canary Islands? Depending on the situation of the pandemic, they will decide but it will surely take little time to venture into another project …