Phil, awesome reply! Your response provides the kind of insight I can't get without being there. Your level of detail is what keeps me subscribed.
This weekend I rode 350+ miles as a sweep rider for a dualsport event in the local desert. After the 200 mile first day my right hand was killing me. Between blisters and hand cramps it was a pain. I kept thinking how guys like you deal with that. I've seen pictures of racers with absolutely gnarly blisters that look utterly painful. I guess nothing replaces time on the bike in full gear (trying out different gloves and grips etc). I also really like your idea of running with 5 pound weights to strengthen your grip (along with arms etc).
To be riding for 29 hours is nuts. In Nov I did a 24 hour Iron Butt Challenge and was dead tired after that, I can't imagine going off road for a longer amount of time.
Thanks for replying about the gearing and speed etc. Being that I haven't rode the course (looking to do my first baja ride in Spring) its hard to understand the terrain and pace you guys are riding (videos don't do it justice). From your posts, fitness/prep and consistency seem to be the keys to a successful race as opposed to flat out speed. Granted you're a competent rider so that helps but at 29 hours on a bike there has to be a time when physical talent subsides and its all mental. You've provided the ADV community a great tutorial on your experience.