A man who suffered two fractured vertebrae when he was kicked from his bike by a horse in the middle of a race has returned to race again on the same circuit.
Chris Williams, 24, lined up on Sunday alongside 79 other riders from across the UK for the first of the four North Wales Road Races.
But last time he was there in 2015, the bike mechanic from Dyserth had a very different experience.
Chris, who works at the Bike Hub in Rhyl, was racing in the Denbigh Road Race for the Holywell Avengers in June 2015.
The race entered the last lap and the riders turned off the A525 past St Marcella’s church towards Llandyrnog.
“As we were coming down Whitchurch Road towards the main climb of the day near Llandyrnog two horse riders were coming down the other way,” said Chris.
“One of the horses got spooked and, well, because I was on the front I was the one that took it.
“The race got black flagged straight away. It was a bit, well, unhappy memories of this circuit.
“I was straight off to hospital unconscious obviously. They wanted to keep me in for a week, but I wasn’t having any of it.
”I’m not a hospital person so, just out the day after, back to work on the Tuesday.”
“I was in a back brace for 12 weeks and couldn’t ride my bike for 20 weeks and by that time the racing season was over.
“I had severe rib tissue damage and I’d fractured my L5 and L7 vertebrae.
”But I came back to Denbigh this Sunday. In the morning the legs were a bit heavy as I’d raced the day before near Skelmersdale but nobody’s fully race fit this time of year.
“I’ve still got arthritis in the spine now, so it’s hampering me a bit, but you just get on with it, don’t you?”
After a fast start which saw the riders top 40 mph, Chris crossed the line in the main bunch in 48th position which itself wasn’t far behind winner Anthony Richardson.
Reflecting on the race he said: “It was all right, I finished in the front group. I was just happy to stay in the race looking at the strength of the riders in it.
“It was good to be back, definitely. I was a litle nervous on the long straight where the incident happened, but in a race like that you just have to forget it.”