By Anvil Welch

Globe Sports Writer

The wind - brisk most of the time - has bedeviled bicycle riders on the Route 66 PAC Tour.

However, added veteran rider Scott Springer, the group remains on course to move through Joplin - his home - on Sunday.

Springer hopes to visit with family and friends for at least two hours - starting between 1 p.m. and 2 - at Schifferdecker Park.

"Everything looks good for us coming into Joplin about 1 p.m.," Springer said.

Today's assignment for the bikers is a 103-mile leg in Oklahoma - Bristow to Vinita. Sunday's segment is 84 miles from Vinita to Carthage.

"I'm not as spry as I was three weeks ago,'' Springer, laughing, said Thursday night during a telephone conversation. "We've had some hills and that constant headwind through Oklahoma. But I keep hammering away.

"That headwind has hit us in the face most days. It's been strong at times, too. It was 48 mph at Flagstaff (Ariz.). Now, we just expect more wind."

The bikers, through Thursday, had avoided rain in Oklahoma.

"Today (Clinton to Yukon on Thursday) it was foggy, overcast and misty," Springer said. "It was wet but it was never raining."

Route 66 PAC Tour, which is scheduled to wind up May 14 in Chicago, started on April 16 at Santa Monica, Calif. Those bikers who lasted the complete tour totaled 2,514 miles (an average of 87 per day).

The event is a celebration of the 80th anniversary of Route 66.

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