Sunday, October 10, 2010

Commonwealth Games Road Cycle Race in Connaught Place

Of all the Commonwealth Games events that I have attended, the most interesting was the Cycle Race, held on the streets of New Delhi...the thrill of dodging the security cordon made it even more fun.

Well, it was Sunday morning and we set out early, so as not to miss a thing. The women's 120 kilometre cycle race was set to begin at 8.30 am. The race was totally free of cost. Hearing about the strict security cordon on the roads, we took the metro train to Rajiv Chowk. The public could exit through only two metro gates - one near Mcdonalds, the other near A-block.

We exited near McDonald's in Connaught Place and were surprised that there was hardly anyone about. There wasn't even a Commonwealth games volunteer. There were loads of cops and security guys around, and roads to the inner circle were blocked by old DTC buses.

Thinking that the crowd, volunteers, television crew and officials were in a section from where there was a better view, we began roaming around CP searching for the perfect viewing spot. That's when we made a mistake. As soon as we exited from the Outer Circle, the cops did not allow us to re-enter. We walked around the outer circle of Connaught Place a bit, and realized all routes to watch the cycle race were blocked.

The Brainwave

Yeah, we crossed the road towards New Delhi Railway Station, and took a cycle rickshaw to Ramakrishna Ashram Metro Station. As the roads were blocked by the police, the cycle rickshaw driver took us through small winding streets and inclines in Paharganj to reach the metro station. From then on it was easy - we just caught the metro train from RK Ashram back to Rajiv Chowk, entered the Connaught Place Inner Circle and watched the Commonwealth Games Cycle race.

There were no food and drink stalls in Connaught Place, but we could buy reasonably priced food and water in the metro station. Entering and coming out of the metro station was allowed by the cops. So to beat the heat during the 20 minute gap between laps, we just chilled out in the air conditioned metro station. When we heard the helicopter with the camera hovering above, we would come out to catch the cyclists going past.

The crowd was too little. I suppose if more people knew about the technique to beat security in Connaught Place, more people would have been able to enjoy the cycle race. The road cycle race for women was won by Australian Rochelle Gilmore, while the one for men was won by another Australian. Cyclists from New Zealand and England picked up the other medals.

However, for us, the real winner was the cycle rickshaw driver, who in his filthy torn shorts, exerted all his energy to drive us at top speed to the metro station, so that we could catch every single moment of the Commonwealth Games road cycle race!!!

Have you been watching the 2010 Commonwealth Games events? What do you think of the arrangements?


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