There sure am be some green stuff back there, and the rock formations and sea views from the top of the ridge can't be beat. Plus along the way I saw the MASH filming site. It's only right now that I laugh out loud and realize I ran the aptly-named Backbone loop (and Bulldog).
Why is that funny? Two posts ago I mentioned a possible injury to my lats that I got (I think) from bicep curls. Despite knowing that something didn't fit, i.e. the location of the pain wasn't really where your lats are, I didn't update my belief. Saying the same thing in medical language, I should have moved "lat tear/sprain" down my differential and thought about what to move up.
Long story short, there are many reasons to think that my current (and previous) pain are a disc herniation, rather than a lat injury. I have contralateral pain at a different level that also fits the bill for herniated disc that's stayed with me for a year but I can tolerate it; this one has gone from comparatively much worse to almost resolved in a few days, and it's moved downward a little too (n.b., muscle injuries don't do that).
Fortunately, scary though it sounds, disc herniation is usually self-resolving or only causes mild discomfort, and can be managed conservatively with NSAIDs, heat, and activity restriction. 15 miles up and down hills didn't bother me too much; I guess I just need to find a bicep exercise that doesn't involve shock-loading my spinal column.