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Training & conditioning took more time and effort than the actual ride.

On the average, I rode about 100 miles per week for about 12 months to prepare for "The Ride".  Saddle time is important in preparing for long distance riding, so I entered as many metric century rides as possible before departing.  The difficulty with a 100 kilometer ride is primarily determined by the gain in elevation encountered over the course.  The itinerary for "The Ride" was developed using a metric century as the yardstick.  The challenge with this tight schedule was that it required a lot of endurance...riding day-in-and-day-out, week-after-week, with only one day a week allocated for "recharging batteries".
In addition to riding, I had taken up a physical fitness cross training program at the Beach Cities Health & Fitness Center located in Redondo Beach, CA.  I usually spent about five hours a week at this facility, beginning in January 2007, working on exercises to strengthen the various muscle groups used in cycling and the upper body.  A typical exercise day consisted of spending time at 17 different stations. Here each and every repetition and set is automatically recorded and archived by computer. 
At the end of the month a progress report is transmitted to the exerciser.  The report lists the sum total weight lifted for the month as being "equivalent to lifting (X) number of African elephants"...much more graphic than using conventional English units.  No matter which way it is described, however, exercising is dam_ hard work!
Earlier, I devoted special attention to increasing my uphill climbing ability.  The cross-country route required several major ascents, particularly in California (Cajon Pass), Arizona (Williams & Flagstaff areas), and New Mexico (Continental Divide).  The total elevation gain over the route was equivalent to scaling Mt. Everest twice!  When all was said and done however, my training and conditioning program payed off.
Nutrition and hydration was very important while on the road.  I needed to train myself to stay hydrated, consuming about a liter of sport drink every 20 miles or so.  I also needed to develop a nutritional plan, to ensure that I was getting the correct amount of carbohydrates and protein.