Speed Skater Hits 64 MPH Behind Dakar Rally Truck, Sets New Record

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Wind resistance is a necessary evil. We can’t completely eliminate air, but we can reduce its effect on things. That’s exactly what 32-year-old Dutch speed skater and Olympic champion Kjeld Nuis did, using a Dakar Rally truck to pull the wind catcher behind him so he could set a new speed skating record. He reached 62 miles per hour (103 kilometers per hour) in Norway’s Lake Savalen.

Driving a 19 year old Dakar Rally truck Seth Quintero, who “cannot imagine a person reaching such speed on his own feet”. He found accelerating the right way was one of the biggest challenges for the entire event, adding that he had “never felt so much tension at low speeds.”

Sixty-four mph may seem low on a Dakar Rally truck, but it’s a pretty impressive figure in the world of speed skating. It’s six mph (10 kph) more than the speed he hit four years ago, with the 62-mph (100-kph) barrier eating away at him after his previous attempt.

Nuis pushed himself to break the barrier. “It was really tough on my body,” he said, adding that 64 mph “is really the maximum possible on roller skates.” Nuis said that during the experiment, “every little bump felt like a threshold. Sometimes I even really get off the ice.” Skating at this speed requires precision, he added.

The rally truck pulled a wind catcher behind it that partially encased Nuis, reducing his exposure to wind resistance, which helped him break the barrier. Nuis didn’t need to convert his energy into going against the wind, using it to reach higher speeds. Nuis had to glide more than two kilometers in each attempt, which was longer than required in speed skating competition.

Eliminating or reducing wind resistance is the best way to achieve faster speeds, and it’s a common tactic used in racing. If Nuis is right, his 62-mph record could be unbreakable, but we doubt that will stop anyone trying to break it in the future. Better skates or other creative thinking could give other skaters an edge in the future, or maybe Nuis will make a habit of breaking his own record.



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