So, apparently I've had this problem with my hips for my whole life. Earlier this year (think late July / early August), it began to manifest itself as a repetitive motion injury. The symptoms presented were those common to a problem known as pelvic imbalance. Once that layer of pain was stripped away, we found the next, underlying, older functional issue. This process has gone through several iterations over that past couple of months. It's been challenging, but I think I'm finally getting somewhere.
Read on if you're interested, but beware: It's a bit stream of consciousness, as it's assembled from answers to questions in comments from Strava rides.
12/09/2014: By this point, I'd been forced off the bike by the hip pain and made a visit to the kinesiologist. We determined a few things. My left hip joint wasn't moving properly (more on this later), and there were several muscles not firing in the proper order. My piriformis on the left sidealong with both adductors weren't doing anything. He did some alignment and correction stuff then said to ride, so I did. The neurological connection to these muscles went "back out" so to speak. I was at Stone Mountain 1:30 into the ride and should have stopped. My riding partners Joe and Shannon said that they could see my left side glitching out on the way home; I went back to the kinesiologist. My left piriformis had stopped firing again. At this point, I realized that all these muscles that hadn't been in action needed time to adapt. I also realized that my glutes were basically not firing when I walk, stand, ride, etc. That and the irregular hip motion (called anterior femoral glide) apparently are related.
I began doing physical therapy exercises around this time.
I went back to the kinesiologist on Tuesday 1/6/15. Here are my notes from the following day. They contain some duplicate explanation but more information:
By late August, I had begun to notice hip pain. I thought, "I'm going to keep riding until Six Gap." I did. Then I took a couple of weeks pretty much off, tried riding again; the pain was worse. I was seeing a massage therapist who eventually directed me to the kinesiologist Dr. John Wittle.
He determined that I had several muscle groups not functioning. He corrected that. I noticed a difference in the pain in my hip. The pain now reminded me of a pain that I remember having as a child walking through water. This implies that my functional problem must predate my cycling career entirely but is aggravated by cycling.
The irregular motion that was leading to the pain is called anterior femoral glide. This means that my femur glides forward, into the edge of the joint, rather than rotating ball symmetrically in socket. Apparently this typically happens in conjunction with lazy glutes and a couple of postural issues that I exhibit.
The same day that I realized all this (following a conversation with the kinesiologist) I was riding the trainer and noticed that my glutes weren't firing when I pedaled. I was only pulling, not pushing.
I've been doing glute recruitment exercises 5 days a week and doing short trainer sessions while thinking about using my glutes each pedal stroke. That has been progressing. Now, they naturally fire.
At the visit with the kinesiologist yesterday, he found a lumbar vertebra that was out of alignment (it was rotated forward). He adjusted that, and this clicking feeling that has been in the offending hip FOR MY WHOLE LIFE instantly got about 90% better. Now, the largest muscle group that used to be switched totally off to my neurological system were my adductors. The adductors antagonize the glutes. So, now I need to add adductor exercises to my physical therapy regimen and start doing small sessions of hills to build functional adductor strength.
The physical therapy exercises I'm using and more info about anterior femoral glide and adductor function can be found at the following locations: