I'm not wondering why they hurt, but why I seem to have so much trouble avoiding doing things that make them hurt? I'm asking this in a distance forum because sometimes I wonder what motivates us? I know there are many reasons, but in many cases, I suspect masochism plays a major role. I can't enjoy a ride unless I'm in some pain, and the rides I look forward to the most usually have me feeling pretty bad.
I'm a big fan of long rides with extended tough climbs -- the kind where you grind in first gear (34/27 in my case) for miles and might even have to stand on that. This year, I've been doing 10K feet of climbing just on my weekend training rides unless pain stops me. Frankly, the only reason I don't do more on the training rides has to do with time.
If my rides are even vaguely reasonable, my knees don't cause problems. However, I can't get myself to let things heal up properly so things have gradually gotten worse. It used to be that 10K feet caused no problems. Now it causes moderate pain that takes weeks to heal from (so I can't do them every weekend anymore), and the extended rides get pretty uncomfortable and I'm unable to fully recover between them.
I think I could be pain free in a few months if I simply avoided extended climbs that I couldn't spin up or put MTB gearing on my bike. But for some reason, I can't get myself to do it. What the heck is wrong with me? I want to be able to still do challenging rides in a few years, but I seem to have a compulsion to do dumb things that could relegate me to easy flat rides.