Why Hex Head Screws Are Not Always The Best Traction Choice

As I waited for others to show up for a Thursday night "gravel road" run at Seidman Park, I listened to the rain and wind hit my van, and watched puddles form on the ice in the parking lot. No big deal, I wasn't worried about traction, I had hex head screws on my trail shoes. As the time to run arrived, no one else had, so I decided to head out on my own. I was here, I was dressed, and I knew where to go, so I headed down the road, my hex head screws clicking on the blacktop.

The rain had stopped by the time I reached the dirt/gravel road and it was starting to warm up a bit. There were slick spots where water covered ice on the road, but I found that by slowing down and staying flat footed I was able to get past the ice with no problem. Plus, there was always some gravel or loose soil on the side of the road to add some traction. I turned down Cramton and started toward 2 Mile Road and the turn around point.

Cramton gets very narrow in spots, and in one of these areas I saw a large SUV heading for me and could hear a car approaching from behind. I decided to get off the road by climbing up the bank on the side, about one foot higher than the road itself. As I stood there, my hex head screws digging into the loose soil, the large SUV slowly passed by, the passenger side window opened and a teenager asked "Have you any Grey Poupon?" HA, that is actually pretty funny, I thought as I started running again.

I reached a down hill portion of the road and was already on the down slope when I noticed that I didn't see any gravel or loose soil on the side, and that the bank at this location was very high. As I slowly slid my feet back and forth, keeping my feet flat on the ice like before, I realized this was not going to work. Wet ice covered the slope from edge to edge. I was a little alarmed and decided to stop moving and figure this out.

My feet stopped moving, but I didn't stop going down the hill. I was now traveling on 20 hex head screws on a highly glazed surface, down hill, and was gaining speed. I flailed my arms to stay in an upright position and realized I had no control over how fast I was going or where I was going -- I had slid to the middle of the road! I am now HIGHLY alarmed and sure that I am going to die. Logically, maybe I should have sat down, fallen backwards, and rolled to the side of the road, but at this point logic had nothing to do with it. Adrenalin kicked in, my vision was more focused and somehow MAGNIFIED. I was now on the steepest, iciest hill I had ever seen, and headed for disaster.

I started moving my feet again to keep some kind of stability, flailing my arms now and again to keep my balance (I'm sure this was very entertaining if someone was watching). I was sandwiched between two bad outcomes, the one in front of me -- a fall down the hill, breaking some bones, maybe my neck, and the one behind me -- the large "Gray Poupon" SUV returning over the hill and hitting me. I had to just keep moving my feet, sliding the hex head screws on the ice, until I reached the bottom of the hill.

After an eternity of sheer terror I somehow made it down the hill, my heart pounding out of my chest and gasping for air. Just outside of my peripheral vision I know that the Grim Reaper was with me as I went down that hill, just in case things didn't go my way. The rest of the run was uneventful. As I approached Seidman park I knew I had cheated death and felt so ALIVE!

The hex head screws are coming out tonight.

Comments

Ken, that's a great story...
annedj's picture

I would have love to see that. Glad you didn't get hurt.
Ingrid A's picture

great writing skills - can literally feel your pain/ distress... glad you made it back safely