Monkeyman, Have you been mounting Wilderness AT's on your wheelsets? What's with the "exploding rims"?
re: the wear pattern, I have the same pattern that showed up on a set of Open 4CD's after a long ride in the rain on some insanely steep hills (well, we were riding home from a hillclimb race!) Nothing further amiss with the wheels in over 3,000 mi since. On the same wheelset a year earlier I did pop a spoke (DT doublebutted), I was boneheaded enough to turn a corner and jump out of the saddle into a steep hill in way too large a gear. Naturally I popped a drive side spoke, rear wheel. I've learned to avoid such manuevers, my wheels thank me.
My rimsets are mostly Mavic; Open 4, Reflex, SUP Open Pro, GL330, Paris Roubaix; there are a few superlight sets with Fiamme Ergals (usually 36 spoke). I'd think that Ergals would be about as fragile as you get, but so far no troubles.
Pleased to contibute,
Sid, in sunny Chicago contemplating my after work ride, Smith