I'm just back from a three day tour, but it's really more of a long distance ride than a tour since aside from food and water and tools I carried only a change of clothes; no camping gear etc.
Anyway, first day I couldn't leave until the afternoon so I only did about 75 miles (mostly nice but I got thoroughly drenched in a downpour that lasted from mile 25 to 50 or so); the second about 92 (very nice); and on the third day I rode about 121 miles across Lancaster County, Chester County, and back to NJ. This was a spectacular ride, almost all of it under heavy rain, some of it torrential.
Now, on account of the weather, I can't say it was a particularly delightful ride; but I saw stuff I've never seen before. The many flooding fields, streams and rivers were amazing, and the rain soaked Pennsylvania farmland was truly beautiful in its way. Not to mention the excitement of repairing my chain with my bike leaned up against a cornfield with lightning striking less than a mile away. I think I did okay. By the time I crossed the Delaware a few miles from home, I could have swum it without getting any wetter. I was tired all over, and I was starting to get some soreness in my legs, feet, seat, chest, and so on, all pretty even, so I figure that's par for the course. I wasn't bonking or dehydrated or anything like that.
Except for my neck. My neck was starting to get sore the first day, and it just kept getting worse. By the third day I was riding no-hands every opportunity I had, so I could straighten my back out and hold my head up as high as possible. Long descents, in which I had to hold on for safety, were painful. Long ascents, in which I had to hold on for leverage, were worse. I took ibuprofen every six hours, not that it helped much.
So, question is: is this normal, and if not, what am I doing wrong, or what can I do to prevent this next time? Are there exercises to prepare your neck for ten hours in the saddle? Do you have a technique to keep your neck from getting sore while riding?