In a statement released by RAGBRAI, the organization has announced the appointment of Matt Phippen, from Vinton, as the new Director of Operations.
"RAGBRAI, Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, hires Matt Phippen, Iowa native and longtime friend of RAGBRAI, as the director of operations.
Phippen, formerly a sales leader at Scheel's Iowa City, has participated in RAGBRAI indirectly and directly since 1990 when his family hosted riders in his front yard. He rode his first RAGBRAI in 1998 and has since participated as a vendor, served on a town planning committee, and most recently served as a sponsor and pre-ride advisor.
"RAGBRAI has been a major part of my life since I was 10 years old," said Phippen. "I am honored to play a part in this iconic ride, tell the story of Iowa communities, and get more people on bicycles so we can continue the legacy of RAGBRAI for years to come."
As the director of operations, Phippen will oversee the day-to-day logistics of RAGBRAI including route planning and logistics, town planning, and partner relationships with city, state, and county officials, law enforcement, and medical personnel.
Dieter Drake, who joined RAGBRAI in December of 2019 and lead the team through a global pandemic and a successful RAGBRAI event in 2021, has been elevated to events operation director over the cycling division for Ventures Endurance, a subsidiary of Gannett's USA TODAY Ventures event team. He will work closely with Phippen and the Iowa team as an advisor while he leads the day-to-day operations for Ventures Endurance's newly acquired Ride the Rockies bicycling event in Colorado where he lives.
"Matt brings a lifetime of RAGBRAI passion and enthusiasm and we're happy to have him as part of the RAGBRAI family," said Drake. "We're expecting him to contribute immediately to RAGBRAI and to succeed in our mission to produce safe and successful bicycling events while bringing value and excitement to communities across the state of Iowa."
Phippen rounds out a six-person full-time RAGBRAI team based in Iowa. Preparation for the 2022 ride is already underway with the route being announced on Friday, January 28that the annual RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party at Hy-Vee Hall. Tickets for the event are on sale atRAGBRAI.com/events/ragbrai-route-announcement-party/"