Born-again rider Alexandra Yeung Kin-wa rediscovered the joys of competition just weeks after contemplating whether she should hang up her bike for good. It took her only three days - three days of an incredible experience in the Himalayas - to change her mind. The 30-year-old Hong Kong rider, who represented the SAR in both the 2000 Sydney Olympics and this year's Asian Games in Pusan, reignited her passion for racing after finishing second overall in the recent Siemens Action Asia Himalayan Mountain Bike Series. A professional for three years, the Sports Development Board scholarship athlete had trained seriously in the mountains of Colorado for the high-altitude of the Himalayas, where she raced at 2,300 metres above sea level. But nothing really prepared her for what she termed the 'toughest thing I have ever done'. The setting for her 'comeback' could not have been more spectacular. Racing in the Kathmandu valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Hong Kong's top all-round female cyclist was overawed by the natural beauty of the world's most famous mountain region. 'It was an incredible experience. I wish this series had gone on longer as three days was not enough,' said Yeung, who competed in Nepal's biggest annual sporting event. 'This was the toughest thing I've done on a variety of levels.' Yeung, who competed in both the mountain biking and the more traditional cycling track and road events in Pusan, finished second behind Germany's Verena Stitzinger in the Himalayas. Yeung managed one first-place finish and two seconds, but more importantly she brought the thrill of competition back into her life. 'The race made me realise why I love racing so much. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to go if I wasn't in this sport. It was a beautiful course and there was fantastic support from the thousands of local villagers who lined the course to cheer us on. It was an incredible scene with villages and school children lining the 30-40 kilometre course everyday to cheer all the competitors on, which was great on the hill climbs. 'I was seriously thinking of retiring at the end of this year, but this trip to Nepal has made me realise all the great things I can do, as well as the wonderful people I can meet.' Finishing the series was an experience in itself. Yeung won't forget the time she had to complete the last 20km of a hilly course with a sprained left hand after a spill. She was forced to use her other hand to change gears over some 'crazy and bumpy' steep sections that needed a rider's full concentration. Michael Maddess, assistant race director and event organiser for Action Asia who also competed in the series, remembers Yeung's bravery. 'She flew past me, after I flipped over my handlebars on a steep section, asking if I was OK,' he said. 'Five minutes later, the reverse happened with Alexandra flipping over face first into a bank full of mud. But she continued to race. She's got a good future if she sticks to it. I don't know many girls that tough.' Yeung laughed off the accident, saying: 'I had forgotten that riding a bike was supposed to be fun, so thanks for reminding me how lucky I am to have this job. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to be there if I wasn't a bike racer.' Riders will never forget one steep decline on the first day of the series. 'There was a downhill section in the race that can only be described as an Olympic Games luge or ski jumping course because it was an almost vertical wall with an incline of nearly 45 degrees,' Maddess said. 'The organisers thought they would carry their bikes, but the top European riders [like series winner Werner Wagner of Germany and series runner-up Martin Hornegger of Austria] went for it. 'The top riders would have been used to it, but for the amateur riders, it would make their hair stand on end. 'When I encountered that steep incline, I said, 'you've got to be kidding' and I remember gripping my back-brakes 100 per cent and still holding on for dear life. You question your sanity in that section. But the top riders went for it because they saw tyre marks and knew that somebody had already done it.' That was not the only hair-raising moment of the series. On some of the other downhill sections, riders encountered horned bulls and other wild animals - although no rider had the misfortune of clipping the horns of a bull. Apart from Yeung's heroics, other riders also made their mark. Hong Kong-based Canadian Neil Art, one of the SAR's top downhill bikers, rode the entire series on a single-speed bike. Moved by his unique achievement, at the end of the series the race organisers presented Art with a special award - a single cog. The series had its other fair share of amazing stories. Shenzhen-based Malaysian Eric Koh spent every day in Nepal on the phone with his pregnant wife, who had gone into labour in Shenzhen. As Royal Nepal Airlines fly just three times a week, Koh - fourth overall in the men's Open - had to wait three days for the next flight to Hong Kong. Talk about luck, and incredible timing, his wife gave birth to a son the day after he arrived home. 'It was a truly amazing experience for all us. From the children cheering you on every day during competition to the cultural dances the villagers put on every night. It was something to remember,' said Maddess.