By Anvil Welch

Globe Sports Writer

He got it Sunday if Scott Springer needed a boost - especially mental - to finish the Route 66 PAC Tour.

The veteran Joplin bicyclist arrived "home" about 1:30 p.m. and was met by several relatives and friends at Schifferdecker Park.

Day 22 of a scheduled 29 for the group consisted of 84 miles from Vinita (Okla.) to Carthage.

The bonus for Springer was that he spent Sunday night with wife Sandy - they live at 3206 N. Pheasant Lane - before going to Carthage early today. Destination today - almost 100 miles - is Marshfield.

The 2,514-mile journey - an average 87 miles per day- will wind up May 14 in Chicago.

"I'm elated," Springer said of the reception. "Also, I've received a lot of cards and packages (during the tour). I'm like a kid at Christmas time."

"He looks better than when he left. He's so strong," said son Steven. "I'm proud of him."

The elder Springer obviously was smitten by a banner: "Cornerstone Church: We Love You Scott Springer."

Springer, holding grandson Aidan (the son of daughter Stephanie and Darin Morehead), said it might be a challenge to roll out of bed in the morning.

"All those mornings mentally have been tough and challenging," he said. "You can't let the negatives mentally get you down."

Springer, who insisted physically he felt good, had the right knee bandaged from a spill in the rain at Sapulpa (Okla.). He's lost perhaps five pounds.

"I'm still mad about going down," Springer said. "I was following this guy (who went down and Springer didn't react quickly enough). My back is sore, too, from the fall."

Springer, who'll be 54 on June 17, said the Route 66 PAC Tour, even though he's been on many such events, was unique for him.

"Eight days, for example, had been my longest," Springer said. "Plus, 800 miles.

"I just didn't know how I would feel. I hadn't been there before. I now know that third week is 'gutting it out.' You get in a groove, though, and you want to keep going."

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Springer, a fitness trainer at Olympic Fitness Center in Joplin, said the original field of 20 bikers that started the tour at Santa Monica, Calif., represented seven countries.

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