I'm a sucker for bribes.
So we made changes. Over the months we changed our riding schedule to four mornings a week. We changed the length of our rides to metric centuries (62 miles). And we threw in a standard century (100 miles) every so often just to keep things interesting.
We bought new road bikes with a softer ride and electronic shifting. It made a big improvement for me. I have wonky hands, feet, wrists, and ankles. With my old bike I wore wrist and thumb supports under my bike gloves, but I still could not use a water bottle while riding without dropping it. With the new bike I don't need the wrist or thumb supports at all. And I have no problems using regular water bottles while riding. That is huge.
The project wasn't all a success. Distances longer than a century didn't work out. When we tried to push the miles farther, I had an unpleasant cascade of problems. We tried many approaches to it, but unless I could have a solid 12 hours off the bike between rides, the cascade of problems made riding impossible. So I had a brief pity party for the dream of randonneuring and moved on. We had lots of other things we could do instead.
This year we rode a lot. We put about three times as many miles on our bikes as on our car. I no longer have any fear of riding longer distances. I've learned I can do it, day after day after day.
Will Al have another project for next year? You can count on it. It's what he does.