"Wow! It really felt like I was flying over the ice,” said Kjeld Nuis after his successful world record attempt. "I've just skated 50 percent faster than my fastest race ever. At that race I skated 60kph [36mph], just now 93kph [58mph]. So bizarre! The natural ice was perfect but still a bit bobbly. I actually flew over that. My skates were really shaking like crazy and that was actually way more exciting than I expected.”
It felt like hanging my head out of the window on the highway. That exact feeling, but on skates with irons of 1.1mm!
Kjeld had just won two Olympic medals and now he wanted to become the fastest speed skater ever. Together with Erben Wennemars, Red Bull studied the ideal conditions to reach the top speed. Part of these studies was a test in a wind tunnel to calculate in detail how the aeroshield should be designed. Wennemars also studied the speed that could be reached behind the aeroshield on normal skates at a deserted Twente airport.
Watch the live record attempt in the below player.
On Wednesday, conditions looked perfect in Swedish Lapland. Swedish driver Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky was put in control of the SEAT Ateca with a specially-designed aeroshield at the back.
"When I went next to the aeroshield," said Kjeld of the device, "I really got punched back by the wind. It felt like hanging my head out of the window on the highway. That exact feeling, but on skates with irons of 1.1mm!"
Kjeld's father, Roland Nuis, was also on location to support the record attempt. According to him, the tension was even bigger than during the Olympics and he was obviously overjoyed to see his son succeed.
Kjeld's coach, Jac Orie, said a few weeks ago that he was afraid of the consequences if the attempt failed: "There are certainly risks and that part is not fun – sometimes it's even a bit scary."
See the best photos of Kjeld's record attempt in the gallery below: