Friday, March 11, 2016

The 15-Mile Loop

TigerBlog took his workout outside yesterday morning.
Instead of riding the exercise bike on D level, TB got on a real bike and set out to do John McPhee's 15-mile loop around town. Mr. McPhee, who rides indoors in the winter with TigerBlog, has been doing this for years, decades actually.

The two started in the Jadwin Gym parking lot and returned a little more than 90 minutes later. The ride went 15 miles and took TigerBlog through parts of Princeton in which he had never before been, as shocking as that was to him.

He even learned a thing or two.

For instance, did you know there used to be a trolley line from Princeton to Trenton? Mr. McPhee - the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, longtime Princeton writing instructor and Faculty Fellow for the men's lacrosse team - used to ride with his mother on that trolley to go shopping for clothes in Trenton when he was a boy.

Today, there's a path behind the Hun School where the trolley line used to be.

It was a fascinating ride. And a tough one. There are more hills than you think along the way.

Oh, and there are a few times where TB and McPhee had to cross some busy streets, like the Princeton Pike and Route 206. And Route 27 on the way back.

In the end it was a way better workout than just riding downstairs. And hey, it was the right day for it.

Even though it's just the second week of March, the temperature in Princeton has touched 70 each of the last two days. When TB was riding yesterday morning, it was already into the 60s.

A little over a week ago, the Princeton area had sleet, then rain, then more sleet, then snow. By the time it was over, there were 12 inches of snow on the ground here. It was worse in Washington, D.C., where so much snow fell that before the Princeton-Maryland men's lacrosse game down there, whole portions of the stadium couldn't be cleared and were closed.

Maryland is at Princeton tomorrow. The forecast? Sunny and 66.

With a forecast like that, TigerBlog ordered a lot of programs for the game. You better make sure you're there to get one. TigerBlog would hate to think he wasted the money.

As midterms end and spring break starts here, most of the spring teams are on the road. The only home game this weekend, for that matter, is that men's lacrosse game.

There's another home game Monday night, at 7, against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are unbeaten and ranked in the Top 20 heading into their huge game tonight against another Top 20 team, Stony Brook.

Princeton will begin its home Ivy League season next Saturday, when it hosts Penn. Other than those three men's lacrosse games, there are no other home events until the men's volleyball team is home with NJIT on the 22nd.

There is more to the men's lacrosse game tomorrow than just good weather. The Terps were the NCAA runner-up a year ago, when they lost to Denver, and even though they are 2-2 on the young season, they are still a team that could be playing well into May again.

Princeton finds itself with quite a run to finish up this regular season. After already playing two ranked teams, Princeton has 10 remaining regular season games. Of those 10 games, three are against teams currently in the Top 10, three more are against teams ranked 11-20 and two more are against teams receiving votes.

Every game will be a challenge, which makes every game an opportunity.

This weekend won't see any other teams at home, but that doesn't mean there aren't huge events. The women's lacrosse team is at Notre Dame in a matchup of two Top 10 teams. It's also the opener of a doubleheader that concludes with No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Denver on the men's side.

There are also postseason competitions, including the NCAA fencing regionals at Lafayette.

Cecilia Barowski is at the NCAA indoor track and field indoor championships in Birmingham, where she will be running in the 800 meters. The event is being held at Samford University. TigerBlog was there once; they have great landscaping.

Barowski runs tonight at 8:35 in Heat 1 of 2. The top three in each heat, plus the next two fastest times, advance to tomorrow's final, at 6:40.

The women's hockey team is on its way to Minnesota to play in its second NCAA tournament. The Tigers' season was so good that even a quarterfinal loss to St. Lawrence in the ECAC playoffs wasn't enough to keep them out of the field of eight teams.

Their assignment? The defending NCAA champion Gophers, who are 32-4-1.

You can see the video of the game tomorrow at 5 (Eastern, 4 if you're actually going to the game in Minnesota) for free by clicking HERE.

Lastly, the big story in Ivy League sports yesterday was the addition of the men's and women's basketball tournaments. Princeton could have used both this year, as they finished second in both races.

The women still have a reasonable chance at being the first Ivy team ever to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. If not, they will definitely be playing in the WNIT.

The men hope to be getting into the NIT as well.

Actually, either could be a playing at home if they are in their respective NITs. If not, then it's only lacrosse here for awhile.

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