So I turned 45 this weekend, and decided rather than lying around drinking Bailey’s and smoking weed to commemorate the 45th anniversary of my mother expelling me from her womb, I would do something adventurous. I agreed to go on a two-day, 110-mile bike ride from a little town called Williamsport in northwest Maryland down a beautiful, rugged trail to D.C. that hugs the north bank of the Potomac River.

There were seven of us in our group and we set off a bit late on Saturday morning. This meant we had to go pretty hard to make it to Leesburg by dusk.

I had been training by going on three-to-four hour bike rides the last two months or so, but never had I done 50 miles in a day, so I was really nervous for my bum and legs and more importantly, my neck and shoulders, which always cause me problems whenever I am hunched over for more than an hour or so.

I was proud of my bum and legs. I had no issues and they performed valiantly. But by the end of the day on Saturday, the last hour spent negotiating a violent thunderstorm and torrential downpour that made the trail treacherous, I felt like someone was thrusting a red hot dagger into my neck and left shoulder. This was despite a handful of Advil I’d taken when the pain first started to present itself.

There were many experienced cyclists among us and no one could see any obvious signs that I wasn’t positioned properly on the bike or that the frame was too big for me or anything like that. None of us could quite figure it out.

In any event, I spent Saturday night with a heating pad attached to my shoulders, Advil and booze, and the next day it was only slightly better, largely because we opted for a paved trail that wasn’t as bumpy and unpredictable as the gravel travel the day before.

Have any of you ever experienced such a thing? If so, what to do? I want to do a three-day, 150-mile ride in three weeks and I am already dreading it.