A day without bag-packing is always a temptation to take a rest! But given that we are so deep in amongst the Basque Pyrenees, we’ll want to get into the saddle, because one thing is for certain: there is no shortage of wonderful passes and challenging gradients around here. So today we begin our loop with the Alto Laza, a gentle climb that only becomes steeper towards the end, so the ideal warm-up. We carry on with the Port de Larrau, which gives us another 700 m of climbing in one go. At this point we cross the border into France and reach the minor pass the Col d'Erroimendy. The descent is very steep and requires great care. And the crowning touch, the Col de Pierre Saint-Martin which will provide lovely, distant views in both directions if the skies are clear. The descent takes us back to Isaba, on the Spanish-Basque side.<italic>Variant:</italic>The opposite of ‘rest day’ is the 149 kms long “Basque Country Hammer”, which goes over the Alto Laza, the Alto de Remendia, over a horrible, steep ramp to the Col de Bagargui and finally takes in the steep north ramp of the Port de Larrau. This cracks the 4000 m of climbing barrier.