One of the things we stress on BRAG (and similar bicycle rides) the most is the issue of safety. That can mean riding safely, wearing the proper clothing and a helmet, drinking sufficient fluids, and washing your hands.
On BRAG 1999 (I think), there was a horrible outbreak of an intestinal illness that sent many riders home. I am thankful that I didn't come down with it, but apparently enough people did that it got the attention of health officials. BRAG folks did a survey and while a cause was never definitively identified, there seemed to be a link back to folks putting their hands in bags of ice (to fill up their water bottles).
Many people were guilty of keeping their gloves on at rest stops. The gloves with which they had more than likely wiped their noses, wiped sweat off their brows, kept on while they visited the porta-potties, and then approached the food table. To put their hands in the ice bags.
I never was one to put ice in my water bottles. I figured it was pretty much a waste, since ice in Georgia in June wasn't going to stay ice very long. I fill my water bottles up at the rest stops, and if the water is tepid a few miles down the road, I'm still grateful I have it.
Ever since then, there has been a huge emphasis on hand washing at rest stops. There aren't any bags of ice out in the open, either. The tables are stamped with the words "Remove gloves and wash hands," and volunteers are instructed to enforce the policy.
There was a lady who worked rest stop #2 for several years, and she became (somewhat) affectionately known as "The Glove Nazi" or "The Rest Stop Nazi." She took her job very seriously, and she was even posted on the net doing part of her "gloves off wash your hands" routine.
I admired her to some extent for taking her job so seriously, but it began to wear on the nerves by day 7. You could hear her screaming before you even GOT to the rest stop. She hasn't been back in the last couple of years..... hmmmmm.....
Some people, though, need that kind of admonishment. I encountered a girl (woman) yesterday who would have incurred the wrath of The Glove Nazi.
She approached the table with her gloves still on, and the volunteer nicely asked her, "Have you removed your gloves and washed your hands?"
"Well, obviously I haven't removed my gloves," she responded, as she helped herself to some slices of peaches.
"We ask that riders remove their gloves to keep from spreading germs. There was a nasty illness on BRAG a few years ago."
"I've never been a rule follower," Miss Gloves On said, munching on her peaches and not the least concerned that everyone was staring at her.
Someone said, "The Glove Nazi would be yelling at you."
She said, "I don't mind getting yelled at."
I couldn't stand it. I had to speak up. "I'd rather be yelled at than come down with that horrible illness that went around on BRAG."
I swear to you, she said, "Oh, you haven't lived until you've had the swine flu."
I was aghast. I said, "Then I haven't lived, and I don't want to."
She just laughed.
She never got it. She never took her gloves off, so I'm sure she didn't wash her hands.
Gross. I hope she comes down with the dysentery from hell.