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Alan Simons

For Alan Simons athletics has always just been part of life. Early sports had him competing in soccer and swimming at the Naval stations of his youth and fun was sneaking a spin on a bike his father pieced together for his own competitive use. When early family life kept him busy, pickup basketball was an escape. Cycling as a hobby happened when his wife bought him a Mountain bike so that they could spend active time together. In the 16 years since, cycling has become a passion (maybe an obsession). Distance and endurance are his preference. The mental fortitude to put the miles on no matter the hours worked, the weather outside or the challenges of the terrain keep his mind free, strong and at peace.

Participating in RAAM while supporting the NF cause is an incomparable opportunity and a bucket list challenge.

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Rich Harper

Rich was a distance runner through college but often cross trained on the bike, dabbling in mountain bike and triathlons. It wasn’t until after he moved to North Carolina in 2001 that road cycling became his full-time focus.  After a quick ascension to Cat1, he raced regionally and then turned professional, racing for Kenda Pro Cycling.  Rich has competed in races across the United States as well as internationally. He is a multi-time elite and masters North Carolina road race and criterium champion.  In 2013, Rich completed his 1st 400-mile race in 20.5hours, qualifying for solo RAAM. In In 2016, he was 2nd in the 35+ Master’s National Road Race, as well as the overall 35+ winner.

Today, Rich races less, focusing mainly of road racing, but still spends a lot of time on the bike racking up 22,000+ miles a year while training and cyclotouring around the US.  When Rich is not on the bike, he is most likely on a boat 45 miles offshore scuba diving or spearfishing.

Rich is excited to test his physical and mental ability at RAAM 2017 as well as raising awareness about Neurofibromatosis. 


Grant mcalister

Grant was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He grew up skiing and competed in ski racing from ages 10 to 18. After it became evident that he wasn't going to become an olympic skier, he focused on another sport he has grown to love through his summer training. He especially loved mountain biking. Windsurfing, skiing, and biking all became the outdoor sports would do as often as time, money, and weather would permit.

Grant then got his PhD in German literature from the University of Utah and landed at Wake Forest University in his dream job.  Soon after moving to Winston-Salem, he discovered mountain biking in the area didn't compare at all to the West. He decided to change his focus to road racing and threw himself fully into that sport. He had never raced road before, but quickly moved up the ranks. By the time he was 35, he was racing as a Cat. 2 in pro, 1, 2 races. He soon switched to the shorter races in the Masters Class as they were a little safer had shorter races that better fit his work life. His race successes include: NC Road Race Champion in 2009 for 40+,  Crit. Champion, the Time Trial Champion, and 2nd NC Road Race in 2010. He also won the competitive Crossroads Classic for 35+ that year. 

In 2012, Grant was hit by a car during a time trial race and that almost brought his racing career to a complete halt. He is still trying to regain his power and get back on the saddle and has recently won several mountain bike races in his category.

Grant shared the following about his experiences after the accident, "I still try and am still optimistic. I don’t like to quit anything. I am looking forward to racing across America mostly because we are racing for a great cause: Awareness of NF. I also love challenges and I feel this one will be one I will never forget. I hope I live through it!"

Mick Hitz

After 20 years in the film and TV world Mick started a new career in real estate. He and his wife are both real estate agents with Keller Williams in addition to managing their own portfolio of rental properties. Mick and his wife Andie didn’t find each other until they were in their 40’s so they decided not to have children. Their family does include their two pugs Doug and Claire and two cats Scottie and Odie.

Mick's love affair with cycling began when he completed his first century at age 14. This led him to start racing at 16. Mick found his cycling niche in endurance racing at the 24 hours of Canaan in the early 1990s. He considers one of his greatest cycling achievements to be when he placed 2nd in a break at the 2013 NC state championships masters 40+.

Mick then took a three year hiatus from cycling to care for family. Upon his return to the sport, Mick placed in the top 2% of GFNY Cozumel 2016 and GFNY New York 2017.