My name is Abigail Marie Snyder, the meaning of which is as follows. Abigail means “source of joy,” Marie means “bitter,” and Snyder means “tailor.” A good friend of mine once mentioned that when joined together, the meaning of my name reflects beautifully the passage of Scripture found in Isaiah 61:3. “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”
Thus, 613: Thoughts is a chronicle of my thoughts as a young adult seeking to glorify God in everything I do.
I spent four years (from 2013-2017) living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where I taught high school English, middle school P.E., and primary swimming at Haven of Peace Academy, worked as a YoungLife leader, and loved life on the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Currently, I race mountain bikes for Team Neighborlink, with support from Amp Human, Osmo Nutrition and Ride 100%. I am also a 6th grade English teacher at Maple Creek Middle School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I also work part-time as an Assistant Sales Manager and Marketing Content Creator at Summit City Bicycles & Fitness.
Why Middle School?
I had the great privilege (and still do!) of being raised by two people who love God and did their absolute best to teach their children in a way that they would “gain favor with both God and men.” Because of this, I can boast an incredible education in theology, apologetics, and a Biblical worldview, and I am so, so grateful for my parents diligence in training me. I was six when I prayed with my parents to accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Yet, today, when asked when I was saved, I often look to a much later date, when, as a teen, I attended a Christian summer camp at Miracle Mountain Ranch and one of the staff girls sat down on the bunkhouse porch with me the very first day and began investing in my life. Her influence in my life started with a simple conversation and time spent together during a week at camp, but she showed me what a relationship with Jesus looked like for a “cool” young person—and I wanted what I saw. Even though, by many standards, I was saved as a child, it was this invitation to “do life together,” this “discipling,” by someone I looked up to that first truly captured my heart and energies for Christ. Because of that experience and others where I have seen personally the importance of mentors in the lives of young adults / youth, it is my desire as a teacher and as an individual to speak truth, but more significantly, to love and invest in the lives of young people as others have done for me.
The phase of life I’m in right now doesn’t allow me to be involved in Young Life here in Fort Wayne, but it does allow me to be an everyday influence on the lives of sixth graders at Maple Creek. Romans 2:4 says that the kindness of God is what led us to repentance, and perhaps it is my kindness in and out of the classroom that can somehow lead one of these sixth graders to Christ as well.
I grew up riding a bike, but certainly not competitively. My parents took us on rides to go get ice cream as a family, or to Pizza Hut for lunch. My dad’s background was in touring by bike around Prince Edward Island, and so it was the long, slow miles that formed my introduction to cycling. After completing my first century at age 11, I was done. The bikes were put away in the barn and left to gather dust while I spent my middle and high school years focusing on riding and training horses.
After college, as I was finishing up my masters degree, I rediscovered cycling, this time in the form of triathlons. I had been working at a local pool as a lifeguard in order to help pay for school, and occasionally pulling my bike out to ride to and from work. At some point, someone asked me to try a triathlon and I said yes. I eventually did a grand total of three sprint triathlons, never really training for any of them, and consistently getting in the top 5 – swimming and cycling were my strong points, though never strong enough to truly make up for my horribly slow running.
Cycling became more and more intriguing to me, and I began riding more and more frequently. Between 2010 and 2012, I purchased an “upgrade” from Craigslist, a cobbled-together aluminum road bike frame with flat bars and mountain bike-style shifters. Oh yes, and aero bars. I purchased my first set of clipless shoes and pedals and registered for RAIN (Ride Across INdiana). Sometime during those two years, I completed RAIN, rode the Hilly Hundred with my dad, and logged an improbable number of miles on my bike. I also bought a mountain bike: a Specialized Rockhopper with mechanical disc brakes. My brother and I explored the local mountain bike trails, and I even ventured onto some of the mountain bike trails at Liberty University in Virginia during one of my classes there, but I was in no way a “mountain biker.” I just happened to own a mountain bike.
Eventually, in March of 2013, I started working part-time at Summit City Bicycles & Fitness. I still have the vivid memory of going to Summit City Bicycles to pick out my first (and only) new bike as a child, a 24″ mountain bike (that was destined only to be ridden on the road). My new status as a bike shop employee opened my eyes to the world of cycling–and the beauty of carbon. I purchased my first real road bike, a Specialized Tarmac Comp (that I still own & love!) that spring and signed up for my first crit.
Then I moved to Tanzania. I packed up my Rockhopper and took it with me as a mode of transportation once I arrived, and hung up my Tarmac in my parent’s garage. For the next four years, I rode my Rockhopper around the streets (often unpaved) of Tanzania, then came home each summer to ride my Tarmac with my co-workers at Summit City. At some point, I got brave enough to try and hang on with the Saturday morning shop ride, and started to realize that I was at least somewhat strong and fast for the little bit of riding I did each year. In 2016, this was especially clear, as I had broken my leg over spring break, and had no more than six miles of riding in before moving back to Indiana for the summer. Less than a week later, I had been coerced into doing both the Saturday morning shop ride (40 miles) and a century the next day. I completed both, then played in a beach volleyball tournament that evening.
In 2017, I moved home to Indiana indefinitely, with the intent of accompanying my dad on his lifelong dream of riding a bike across the U.S. in the spring of 2018. I started working full time at Summit City, and quickly got talked into doing some bike racing. I did my very first mountain bike race that summer and never looked back. Though I dabbled in a bit of cyclocross and road racing, mountain bike racing was my “first love” and quickly became my focus.
By the fall of 2018, I decided to start working with a coach and see what it would look like to go “full send” into mountain bike racing for a year, with the hopes of potentially earning my pro card. I quickly upgraded from Cat 3, to Cat 2, and then to Cat 1, even entering a few Pro/Open races as opportunity allowed. In the Fall of 2019, I was approved for my Pro Card.
- July 14, 2017 – DINO Potato Creek XCO – Base (Cat 3) – 2 of 7
- August 18, 2017 – DINO Southwestway XCO – Base (Cat 3) – 3 of 6
- September 24, 2017 – NITRO Franke Park XCO – Beginner (Cat 3) – 1 of 3
- September 24, 2017 – NITRO Franke Park XCO – Expert (Cat 1) – 1 of 2
- November 2, 2017 – Iceman Cometh XCM – Open – 10 of 25
- May 4, 2018 – Fort Custer Stampede –XCO Sport (Cat 2) – 1 of 5
- May 19, 2018 – DINO Winona Lake XCO – Sport (Cat 2) – 1 of 5
- June 2, 2018 – DINO Brown County XCO – Sport (Cat 2) – 1 of 9
- July 14, 2018 – DINO Potato Creek XCO – Sport (Cat 2) – 1 of 6
- August 18, 2018 – DINO Southwestway XCO – Sport (Cat 2) – 1 of 10
- October 20, 2018 – Peak 2 Peak XCO – Pro/Open – 5 of 5
- November 2, 2018 – Iceman Cometh XCM – Pro/Open – 15 of 18
- March 31, 2019 – Chickasaw Trace Classic XCO – Cat 2 – 3 of 14
- April 25, 2019 – Whiskey 50 Pro Fat Tire Crit – Pro – 34 of 34
- April 27, 2019 – Whiskey 50 Backcountry Race XCM – Pro – DNF
- May 19, 2019 – DINO Winona Lake XCO – Expert (Cat 1) – 1 of 6
- June 2, 2019 – DINO Brown County XCO – Expert (Cat 1) – 2 of 4
- June 30, 2019 – DINO North Vernon XCO – Expert (Cat 1) – 1 of 4
- July 6, 2019 – WORS Cup XCO – Pro / Cat 1 – 12 of 17 (5th Place Cat 1)
- July 7, 2019 – WORS CUP STXC – Open – 10 of 13
- July 14, 2019 – DINO Potato Creek XCO – Expert (Cat 1) – 1 of 3
- July 27, 2019 – USA MTB Nationals XCO – Cat 1 30-34 – 7 of 10
- August 4, 2019 – DINO Versailles XCO – Expert (Cat 1) – 1 of 3
- August 18, 2019 – DINO Southwestway XCO – Expert (Cat 1) – 2 of 4
- August 25, 2019 – Julbo Eastern Grind Challenge XCM – Pro/Open – 3 of 3
- October 11, 2019 – OZ Trails Offroad Pro Fat Tire Crit – Pro – 26/31
- October 13, 2019 – OZ Trails Offroad 50 Backcountry XCM – Pro – 24/31
- November 3, 2019 – Iceman Cometh XCM – Pro/Open – 17/25
- July 31, 2017 – Muncie Crit – Cat 4/5 – 9 of 14
- May 18, 2018 – Fat & Skinny Tire Fest TT – Cat 4/5 – 4 of 9
- May 19, 2018 – Fat & Skinny Tire Fest Road Race – Cat 4/5 – 10 of 14
- May 20, 2018 – Fat & Skinny Tire Fest Crit – Cat 4/5 – 12 of 18
- July 31, 2018 – Muncie Crit – Cat 4/5 – 4 of 7
- May 20, 2019 – Fat & Skinny Tire Fest Crit – Cat 4/5 – 10 of 22
- July 21, 2019 – Indiana State TT – Cat 5 – 1 of 1
- September 15, 2017 – Bloomingcross OVCX – Cat 4/5 – 9 of 29
- September 30, 2017 – Brookside OVCX – Cat 4/5 – 7 of 28
- November 12, 2017 – Major Taylor OVCX – Cat 4/5 – 3 of 7
- September 15, 2019 – Bloomingcross OVCX – Cat 4/5 – 6 of 12