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Sergeant Bluff —About 7 a.m. Sunday, Matt Phippen found himself in an unusual position.

Long a volunteer for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, hestarted participating in the annualRoute Inspection Ride 10 years ago, when he worked as a manager for the Scheels sporting goods chain. But Sunday morning, he stood in the center of a circle in Sergeant Bluff, directing riders in his first pre-ride as chief of RAGBRAI, pointing them to a route devised under his direction.

Crossing the state July 24 to 30 from the Missouri River city to Lansing on the Mississippi River, the ride is back for its second year after a pandemic cancellation in 2020 and a change in leadership the previous year. Phippen replaced Dieter Drake in January.


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