CTS - A set schedule of rides with a group, prepaid to ensure the commitment, and a varied set of routes, made sure that I'd put in the miles. Made friends, relearned group riding, reinforced safety-consciousness.
The Bike - It just worked. Comfortable, with the Schwalbe Marathons, seat and other fit arranged just so, front bag, cleaned, oiled and adjusted. One of the best investments ever made.
Midpoint accommodations and plan - After 100 miles, the massage was what the doctor ordered. King Oscar Motel with hot tub, comfortable beds, walking distance to dinner, convenient to bag drop, early breakfast buffet, and cyclist-friendly attitude, was just the ticket. It's on the list for next year.
Training schedule including rest. One day on, either at gym or a commute, followed by one day off. The rest is as important as the miles in the saddle. And, you get in shape for cycling by riding a bike.
End of ride plan. Check the bike, get the bag, take a shower, eat, hydrate, get on the bus.
Volunteer and be involved. Working pre-ride packet pick up gets me in the mood and makes me feel part of a larger community.
Go slow. Especially on the inclines. Stay within your game. Don't try to do too much. Enjoy the ride.
Ways to improve? Diet and eating. Watch the rest stops. Larger bag, and an Acorn Bag for the handlebars. Keep riding through the winter. Put the fenders back on. Coffee maker for Day Two morning. These are small things, but keep riding is the big one.