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I am still running cogs and rings that probably have 100,000 miles on them.
A brake rubbing on the tire leaves a huge signature. The brake area will be covered in black dust. The erosion on the tire is clean because it's being burned away and heat polished. That is, until you burn it into the casing and then you might see something like in your photos. But a brake rubbing on the tire rubs on the entire tire or there will be a fierce bump while braking and you can smell the rubber burning. It's unmistakable.
The most common cause of brake erosion tire that I can think of is not seating the tire properly in the drops. Easy to do. You set it and then sit on the bike and then set it again with some mass and ithe axel will almost always shift. An improperly adjusted brake mech makes itself known on the first serious application of the brake.
So, I'm not going with the brake idea. Something else. Impossible for us to tell form here; it's all speculation.
It looks to me like the brakes may have dived under the rim and abraded the tire.
I've been using down for years for bike touring and backpacking. Just buy a waterproof stuff sack and you'll be fine. Down bags are lighter and more compressible (pretty important since you have limited storage room on a bike).