Overextending my leg???
I went for a fairly technical (by my standards) cross country ride last weekend, that was absolutely brutal. I had a lot of trouble keeping my pace on the climbs and the next day, my knees were extremely tender. They stayed that way most of the week. I'm trying to figure out why the ride was so hard on my knees was wondering, could I have had my seat too high on that ride? I tried a gentler ride this weekend with the seat a little lower. My knees were still a little tender, but none the worse for this ride.
I normally ride with my leg not quite straight at the bottom of the stroke, but I think I might have raised the seat a little too far after taking the bike out of the car. Was my leg straightening out messing with my knee? Did I lose some power in my stroke, as well? What can I do to strengthen my knees.
Nah. If you were overextending, you would feel pain in the BACK of the leg from overstretching the tendons- like in the pit of the leg. Pain in the front of the leg- the knee could mean that your seat was too LOW. Riding with the seat higher actually will give you more power in your pedal stroke, so it is always better to have your seat a little higher vs. a little lower. Still, it is BEST to have your seat just right, so I would definitely recommend finding a bike shop in your area that can do bike fit measurements so you can alleviate any more problems.
For knee strengthening activities, do stuff like squats, lunges, the quad extension machine, and the inner/outer thigh machine. Strengthening the muscles around the knees will help protect and strengthen the knees.