Looking at the website it looks like it's a road ride. I'm guessing he's trying to turn his MTB into a slightly better bike for distance riding on the road. Can't say that I blame him, the thought of riding long distance on a MTB just sounds terrible to me.
A rigid fork and some slick tires will make a world of difference. Especially the tires. I'm guessing your fork doesn't have a lockout on it?
And if this was the road forum they would correct you that this isn't a "race". It's more of a charity ride, supported century (on the one option), etc.