Members of the Sudbury Cycling Club have not enjoyed the benefits of the Delki Dozzi track nearly as much as they might have anticipated during the summers of 2020 and 2021.
But by the time the group re-emerges in full force next year, their beloved facility will be scarcely recognizable.
A few weeks ago, a joint announcement made by the Government of Canada (Paul Lefebvre), the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure (Laurie Scott) and the City of Greater Sudbury confirmed an allocation of some $ 558,000 to be used towards the resurfacing of the one kilometre paved loop, as well as a notable upgrade to the lighting standards of the circuit.
For a group that has somehow managed to produce Olympians Gary Trevisiol, David Spears and Eric Wohlberg, despite operating on a minimal budget, the news could not have possibly been more welcomed.
"The track was built in 1980 or 1981, I believe, and it hasn't been well maintained over the years - it's really degraded", noted Sudbury Cycling Club president Sheila Geraghty.
"Large linear cracks have formed in the track. This might be okay, perhaps, for a child's mountain bike, but our riders have these skinny tires, and there are roller bladers and roller skiers that have narrow wheels, so these wide cracks can be really dangerous."
"Sand will also come up from the cracks and settle on the track, making it more slippery," added Geraghty. "This resurfacing process will give us a brand new track, good for another twenty years."
Geraghty also confirmed that given the current health crisis and the unknowns with regards to when exactly the work will be undertaken (beyond the fact that the City has indicated that it should be completed prior to the winter of 2021-2022), the SCC will not return to the track for workouts until the summer of 2022.
Their patience, in the end, will be rewarded.
No single local individual is more deserving of this narrative than long-time head coach Battista Muredda. The beloved member of the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame has been a mainstay with the group for decades on end, persevering with an air of positivity in the face of countless challenges that have arisen.
"Battista worked with the city to design and develop the track for the purposes of road racing for the Ontario Summer Games (1983)," stated Geraghty. "It was maintained as the home of the Sudbury Cycling Club - it's where we've trained since then."
"We really wanted to see this happen for Battista."
The joint funding was made possible through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
And while local cyclists are key benefactors of this injection of monies to the local economy, they are not alone.
"It's not only about the longevity of the club, but also for the other sports that people like to do at this safe environment as well," noted Geraghty, with team specific practices limited to a pair of two-hour windows, traditionally on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Though there remains a few more items on the SCC wishlist - extending the shoulders of the track, filling in some gaps in the fencing and possibly completing a walking trail from Gatchell through to Our Lady of Hope church - the improvements noted above are clearly much appreciated.
"We're very fortunate to have this," said Geraghty.
A local treasure that has produced many a local treasure.