* ROUND AND ROUND: Theodore Roethke put it best: "The important thing in life is to have the right kind of frustration." For him, that meant writing poems but for many that means pedaling off-trail with speed, power and grace. If you fall short (or fall off your bike), big deal. It is reward enough to be out there. The Mid Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts on Tuesday will gather at 6:45 p.m. for a beginner's tour around Wakefield Park in Fairfax County (call Julian Waits at 202-468-4301); on Wednesday a slightly more experienced pack will gather for a casual ride on easy terrain at the park starting at 6:45 p.m. (call Bob Scherrer at 703-918-6148). Both groups will meet near the recycling bins in the parking lot at the park, located just west of the Beltway at the Braddock Road exit. For more information, visit www.more-mtb.org. Rides are free and non-members are welcome. . . .

REI's College Park store will host a class on April 16 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for those who just bought bikes and are working on mechanical competence. Subjects will include: how to fix a flat, roadside safety and the ABC's of shifting and braking. Class is free and there is no need to bring your bike. Call 301-982-9681 for details.

* FAR AWAY, DREAMS: New Zealand's South Island, site of the peaks upon which Sir Edmund Hillary trained for Everest, also has some of the best fishing on the planet. On Wednesday the National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host New Zealand fly-fishing veteran Tim Shaw, who will talk about his time spent in pursuit of brown trout on the west and southwest districts of the island. Social hour starts at 7 p.m., talk starts at 8 p.m. Site is the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Ln. behind the Bethesda Metro stop. For more, visit www.ncc-tu.org.

* ON TRACK: As part of its amateur naturalist series, the Audubon Naturalist Society will offer an introduction to animal tracking on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Rust Sanctuary in Leesburg. Cost is $5 for Audubon members, $7 for non-members. Class is for adults and teenagers. Contact Tammy Schwab at 703-669-0000 for more information.

* OFF TRACK: The Mountaineering Section of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club will head to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland on April 13 for a day of climbing. There will be routes for every level of experience. Non-members are welcome. Meet at Best Western-Washington Gateway in Rockville (I-270 North to Exit 6B, right at second light) at 7:30 a.m. or at 8 a.m. at Sugarloaf. For details, contact Andy Britton at TallAndyB@aol.com

-- John Mullen

mullenj@washpost.com