I'm wondering if riding hard strengthens the knee or causes degradation?
I exercise regularly and am in solid physical condition. When strength training off of the bike, I do a lot of leg work including heavy squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc. I've been doing this seriously for 5 years or so alongside riding, mostly road, and it's done nothing but help when I get in the saddle.
So, when I get on the bike and ride hard, which is usually 4-5 days a week in season, I have leg soreness (obviously). However, I get sore in the knee - not pain per se - just soreness. The soreness is mostly felt in the structures that hold the knee together, i.e. ACL, MCL, LCL.
When I strength train I don't get sore like this - the soreness is all in the muscles, i.e. quads, glutes, hamstrings, as opposed to the ligaments. In fact, I've never done anything besides cycling which induces this type of soreness. That said, is this good in the long run? Am I strengthening my knees or slowly working toward future knee problems?